NEW YORK: Facebook, the social network, now has over 1bn monthly users worldwide, a scale it believes will offer opportunities for brand owners in various categories.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, argued it has joined an elite group of companies – like Coca-Cola, the drinks giant, Microsoft, the IT firm, and McDonald's, the fast-food chain – which possess 1bn customers.

"The number one value here is focus on impact," he told Bloomberg Business Week. "There is on the order of 1,000 engineers and now on the order of a billion users, so each engineer is responsible for a million users. You just don't get that anywhere else."

While Facebook's user base has grown from 25m in January 2006 and 100m in August 2008, Zuckerberg suggested the key issue for the next five-to-ten years won't be whether this figure reaches 2bn or 3bn.

"The bigger question is: What services can get built now that every company can assume they can get access to knowing who everyone's friends are?" he stated.

"I think that's going to be really transformative. We've already seen some of that in games and media, music, TV, video, that type of stuff. But I think there's about to be a big push in commerce."

Facebook has pursued integration schemes with digital players such as Skype, Microsoft's internet telephony service, and Netflix, the video platform, which simply weren't feasible when it had fewer members.

"We weren't yet at the point where the majority of their users were Facebook users, so they couldn't really rely on us as a piece of critical infrastructure for registration," said Zuckerberg. "Now really everyone can start to rely on us as infrastructure. That's a pretty big shift."

This could ultimately even apply to highly "complex" sectors. "I do think down the line we will get to this state where you can see things like finance, or even healthcare, or some aspects of governance, having this be really tied into it," Zuckerberg predicted.

According to Facebook, there have been 1.13tr "likes" for posts, brands, videos and similar content since this feature was launched in February 2009, while roughly 265bn photos have been uploaded since 2005.

"It isn't a core human need to use Facebook. It's a core human need to stay connected with the people you care about," Zuckerberg said. "If we build the best products, then I think that we can continue leading in this space for a long time."

As 600m members of Facebook log on via mobile phones, this area represents an especially "massive opportunity", not least because there are 5bn mobile phones in circulation across the globe, he added.

Data sourced from Bloomberg Business Week; additional content by Warc staff