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Facebook marches on: Brazil next on the way to a billion

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 12, 2012 | 3 min read

Facebook is marching on "in what seems like an unstoppable march to global dominance," its local paper says today

Facebook: unstoppable?

Early last year it overtook Microsoft's Windows Live Profile in Portugal and Mexico . Then it eclipsed StudiVZ in Germany and Google's Orkut in India . Next it unseated Hyves in the Netherlands, according to metrics firm comScore.

Now Facebook is poised to triumph in what has been viewed as its ultimate popularity contest. comScore is

indicating the network "is likely to dethrone Orkut in social media-mad Brazil when its December data is released, ", says the San Jose Mercury News.

It's all a vindication of founder Mark Zuckerberg's growth-first principle, under which Facebook has focused primarily on adding users, not building revenue, since its beginning, says the paper.

Facebook will surpass 1 billion users in the next few months, analysts say, and that population will be a huge asset as it prepares for an initial public offering as soon as this spring.

Carmela Aquino of comScore said, "It's been really surprising to us to see how quickly Facebook has grown, not just in Western countries or

English-speaking countries, but pretty much around the world.

"I think part of it is the network effect -- when you have a big enough mass of people beginning to jump on a social network, it's only a matter of time that their friends get on the same network, and it starts to spread."

Facebook is now used by more than half the population in the U.S. and a number of other countries, according to analytics company Socialbakers. But its growth is slowing in North America and much of Europe as it approaches a saturation point.

For investors, Facebook's rise in Asia, South America and other developing nations "is a proof point that they can make it everywhere in the world," said Jan Rezab, CEO of Socialbakers.

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