Facebook’s Footprint Grows on External Sites

ethan-beardDuring an interview at at Le Web last week, Facebook Developer Network Director Ethan Beard (pictured) boasted that 250 million unique Internet users employ Facebook Connect every month. TechCrunch and AllFacebook noted the comments, which were surprising even in light of the site’s staggering growth in 2010.

Two-hundred-and-fifty million is close to half of Facebook’s user base. When applied to the estimated global Internet audience, that represents something less than 13 percent. According to InternetWorldStats.com, 1.96 billion people worldwide used the Web on June 30. Additionally, he mentioned at Le Web – a Paris-based Internet conference – that 100 million more people had begun using Facebook Connect in the last year, underscoring the site’s burgeoning footprint in the Internet ecosystem.

ClickZ has since reached out to the Palo Alto, CA-based company to ensure that Beard’s comments were not being misunderstood or misconstrued. And indeed, there is a bit of a catch: Facebook Connect cannot take credit for all 250 million, a spokesperson said. That figure also entails people who interact with social plug-ins such as the “Like” and “Recommend” buttons on external websites.

“This number includes people who log into websites with their Facebook credentials, as well as those who share experiences on other websites with Facebook friends through features such as the Like button,” the Facebook spokesperson explained.

While slightly sobering, such a clarification doesn’t damage Facebook’s reputation as a potentially dominant player in the digital space. When CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company’s open graph last April, some pundits said Facebook could take over the Internet. Eight months later, it appears the company has made a small dent in that idea.

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