There are now half a billion people actively using the social networking site Facebook.

With the world population currently more than 6.8 billion, 500 million people using Facebook is a significant achievement for a site that didn’t exist six years ago.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it “an important milestone” for the people who have helped spread Facebook around the world.

“Our mission at Facebook is to help make the world more open and connected. Stories like these are examples of that mission and are both humbling and inspiring. I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started 6 years ago,” stated Zuckerberg.

To celebrate the achievement, Facebook has launched a new application called Facebook Stories, where users can describe the impact the site has had on their lives.

Mathew Cooper in Dubai shared his story through the application about how Facebook helped him deal with the loss of a dear friend.

“When I heard my friend from elementary school had been killed in a car crash, I went to his Facebook page and was shocked to see posts to him from friends and family. People were speaking to him directly, telling stories and making jokes. You’ve allowed me to connect with friends despite the miles between us. And you’ve let me grieve through a loss that I would otherwise have been totally isolated from. Thank you,” Cooper wrote.

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