“India is an interesting market,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook, while talking to Ad Age Editor, Abbey Klaassen, during a session at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2010, on Wednesday. According to him, though India had low Internet penetration as compared to its population, there were more mobile Facebook users than web users in India.
The 26-year-old entrepreneur and one of the youngest billionaires is confident that Facebook would soon have one billion users. However, he said that “there is no chance” of reaching the magical figure this year, but “it is almost a guarantee that it will happen”.
The social networking site is believed to have 500 million registered users worldwide.
Zuckerberg said that the company was strongly focusing on four countries – Russia, Japan, China and Korea – which, according to him, had very low Facebook users. Russia, he said, had only one million users, but “the figures are doubling every six months”.
Talking about the changes in the flow of information in the Internet space, Zuckerberg said that earlier information was consumed from Internet for TV, “but now, it’s two-way. Information is two-directional. Now, it is TV to the Internet.”
Zuckerberg also touched upon the privacy issues that Facebook lately has been drawing a lot of flak for. Allaying fears, he said, “Even I am concerned about my privacy issue. The information they (users) put up there (on Facebook) is all theirs. We are trying to ensure that they use all their data as they want to. Earlier, people were a bit reticent about putting up their information. Then over time, people think it is great to be connected and share things. I think, the world looks at it a lot differently now.”
He added that as Facebook developed, it built privacy controls for everything. At one point, there were more than 100 individual settings users could change.
Replying to a question on how markets were different from each other, the Facebook CEO said, “There are different applications for different regions. And developers are also customising these apps. However, primarily people using Facebook for the same thing – connecting with their friends, family and relatives.”
Asked if Facebook was a media company, Zuckerberg said, “Primarily, it is a technology company, but we can say that it’s a hybrid – technology-media company.”