So Much for Facebook's "Mobile Problem"

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Jan. 30 2013 5:06 PM

So Much for Facebook's "Mobile Problem"

Facebook mobile revenues
More people now use Facebook on their phones and tablets than on computers.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/GettyImages

When Facebook went public last year, the conventional wisdom was that the company had a "mobile problem." Critics insisted that Mark Zuckerberg and co. didn't "get" mobile, and as a result the company might be dead within five years.

The picture looks a little different today. Facebook just released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2012, and one of the headlines was that it now has more people using it on their mobile devices each day than via the Web. In all, the company now has 680 million monthly active users on mobile, a 57 percent increase from a year ago. And after making no money whatsoever from its mobile apps prior to going public, mobile ads now account for almost a quarter of its total advertising revenue. One industry analyst has estimated that Facebook is now the leader in the U.S. mobile display advertising business, topping Google.

The company's total revenue for 2012 topped $5 billion.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

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