Facebook Nears 500-Million-User Mark, Prepares Self-Loving "Facebook Stories"

The Social Network movie posterWhen the first official poster for the Facebook-themed movie The Social Network was unveiled last month, some of us wondered about that official tagline. "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." Catchy! But does Facebook have that many? The last number quoted was 400 million, at the f8 conference a few months ago.

Facebook revealed to All Things D that they do expect to announce the joining of the 500 millionth Facebook member sometime this week. It was bound to happen, of course, but it's a pretty stunning number of users. Just one year ago, the quoted membership was half that.

So what's Facebook doing to celebrate this milestone? Turns out they're having a bit of a love-in, creating a separate website within Facebook to show off the "Facebook Stories" users have been submitting over the years. This site will have about 200 stories, with a maximum length of 420 characters (the same number as in a Facebook status update), chosen by Facebook itself. But the company is also asking for new submissions from users. Said spokesperson Randi Zuckerberg:

"As we anticipated our 500-million milestone, and we wanted to find a different way to announce and celebrate it," said Zuckerberg, who has spearheaded the site’s creation, in an interview this afternoon. "In the past, it’s been all about the numbers and milestones, and we realized we had never taken the opportunity to celebrate users."

Those stories will be organized both by geographic location and by theme, and can be both "Liked" and linked to any user's profile. By submitting a story to Facebook, users will be essentially surrendering all rights to the story, allowing Facebook to use it for commercial or other purpose without warning, payment, or notification.

You can submit a story here, if you'd like. Or, if that's too much work, might I suggest watching the trailer for the suspiciously excellent-looking The Social Network?

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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