Update, 4pm: Significantly, Zuckerberg said Facebook is encouraging developers to build applications to make money, both from advertisements and other transactions. Developers would do this from a “canvas” page given to developers to work on. Zuckerberg stressed two other themes, “deep integration,” and “mass distribution,” examples of which are illustrated in our Agape/Causes on Facebook story posted after this one.

Update, 3pm: Mark Zuckerberg is giving some notable updates:

–Facebook is adding more than 100,000 users a day, or three percent a week, the size of San Francisco every week
–40 billion page views a month
–Sixth most trafficked site in the U.S, recently passed eBay, and working on passing Google
–Predictions for 2007: 50 million users, 75 percent outside of college
–50 percent come back everyday
–No any major social network has 15 percent of their users coming back every day

–Facebook Photo application has more than twice the amount of traffic than all others combined (!), even though Facebook Photo is pretty basic, without the sort of features of a Flickr. This is because of the “social graph,” he says, which keeps users connected with their friends. When a user uploads a photo, others can see it too.
–Same for Facebook Events.
–So what are we going to do with [the social graph]? “Spread information with it.”
–Users often don’t want to spread their photos through the whole social graph, but merely to their friends.
–But friends see the application and then want to spread it. So the application spreads through the rest of the graph…

facebook.jpgVentureBeat will be covering the Facebook‘s official launch today of its “Platform,” a set of tools that let third parties develop applications on top of Facebook and its data.

The company continues to impress, and expand in influence.

Hitwise reports that Facebook has more than doubled in size, to around 22 million now, since it opened up to anyone last year. This is no college-only phenomenon: For a couple of months now, we’ve been writing about the growing influence of its Platform, and how Facebook is expanding rapidly around the world and across demographics.

The company appears ever more confident of the value of what they have — a database of people’s lives, created and shared willingly by the users themselves. The site’s earlier experiments, like news feeds, have successfully tapped into this already. Platform, since it first started last August, is the most ambitious effort yet. Today, we’re expecting to hear more about Facebook’s plans to integrate with the rest of the world.

Yes, the name of the event, “F8,” is a bit over-the-top, but we’ll have updates on throughout the day, with one post already planned for 4pm. We’ll also be live-blogging the hackathon following the regular presentation.

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