Facebook Expected to Claim Half Billion Mark this Week

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Facebook is expected to announce that it has reached the 500 million user mark this week. That's half a billion people in just six years.

It seems like only yesterday Facebook was a students-only site birthed from a Harvard University dorm room. Now it's the most visited site on the Internet and a multibillion-dollar empire.

Putting the half-billion-member-mark in perspective, The Washington Post reports that "the population inhabiting Facebook now equals that of the United States, Japan and Germany combined. Or, two Mexicos and a Brazil."

In an interview with All Things Digital, Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook's marketing director, said that the site plans to celebrate its milestone with "Facebook Stories," a collection of real-life blurbs from Facebook users about how the social networking site has impacted their lives.

"As we anticipated our 500-million milestone, and we wanted to find a different way to announce and celebrate it. In the past, it's been all about the numbers and milestones, and we realized we had never taken the opportunity to celebrate users," Zuckerberg said.

Users are encouraged to visit the User Stories page to submit their yarn in 420 characters or less. The stories will then be organized by geographical location and by themes such as "finding love," "coping with grief" and "natural disasters." If you choose to tell Facebook something about yourself, keep in mind that Facebook reserves the right to publish it any way it chooses -- so no privacy complaints, okay?

Furthermore, Facebook users can "like" individual stories using the ubiquitous "like" button, and the most popular will be featured.

So what will your Facebook story be? I'm thinking mine will be that time I saw an upsetting photo on the Web site and gave myself a little mohawk haircut. Yeah. My boss was super impressed.

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