Facebook has started making more money than it’s spending, for the first time since it was created in a Harvard dorm room nearly six years ago. The social networking giant attributed its new-found profitability to an upsurge in users over the past year. Making the announcement yesterday, Facebook also said it now attracts more than 300 million active users. The company reached 150 million users in only five years, but over the past nine months this figure has doubled to 300 million.
Propelled by that growth, Facebook swung to positive cash flow ahead of schedule, it said. The company had originally expected to hit that milestone in 2010.
“This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.
Facebook, which has taken close to $600 million in financing, makes its money from advertising, including an auction system in which marketers can pay to target small products and services to certain demographics. The private company does not disclose its revenue.
The company says its fastest-growing demographic is now people ages 35 and over, and in the US, the site’s nearly 90 million visitors made it the fourth most-trafficked Web property in July, according to Web ratings firm ComScore.
The company, which now has close to 1,000 employees, was valued at $10 billion in a transaction this year in which Russian venture firm Digital Sky Technologies bought $200 million worth of Facebook’s stock.