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Facebook: The World's Largest Nation

By Peter Clarke, JD | Last updated on

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

When contemplating the world's largest nations by population, China, India, the United States, and Indonesia might come to mind.

Indeed, their populations are currently estimated as follows:

  • China: 1,355,692,576
  • India: 1,236,344,631
  • The United States: 318,892,103
  • Indonesia: 253,609,643

But, are these truly the world's largest nations? Well, not if the Facebook nation is included.

Facebook, which started in a Harvard dorm only a decade ago, now reportedly boasts 1.55 billion monthly active users. Not only has Facebook surpassed China's population, given Facebook's annual growth rate of 14 percent, Facebook should have 2 billion users in less than three years from now.

And while it is true that Facebook is not a sovereign state like countries such as China, India, the United States, and Indonesia, it nevertheless is a giant to be recognized. Facebook users within states and across international boundaries can communicate, share materials and news, and can organize in many different ways.

Facebook's revenue is also formidable. In its most recent quarter, the company's revenue reportedly was $4.5 billion. This was much higher than the $3.2 billion revenue for the prior annual period. And net income increased to $896 million from $806 million from the previous year. Last but not least, Facebook reportedly has a massive $15 billion in the bank.

One definition of "nation" is "a large aggregate of people united by a common descent, history, culture or language inhabiting a particular country or territory."

Over time, perhaps Facebook truly will be recognized as the world's largest nation. Users truly are developing their own Facebook culture and way of interacting. And perhaps the common territory they inhabit will be understood as its specific social media place on the Internet.

Whether Facebook ultimately is deemed a "nation" is a matter of semantics. And while Facebook clearly is not a nation state/country, Facebook plainly is a force to be reckoned with.

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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