Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, FacebookReuters

 Facebook executive and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has said that India is the second biggest market of Facebook and the country's online advertising market is an added advantage as it offers numerous opportunities for the social networking site to grow in the country.

"India is Facebook's second largest market, fastest growing market, fastest growing Internet connectivity in APAC. It is of high priority for us," Firstpost quoted Sandberg who is on a visit to India.

Facebook, a social networking site, was founded on 4 February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and is headquartered at Menlo Park, California. The social networking brand first came to India in 2010, and opened its office in Hyderabad as 'Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd'. The Hyderabad office was not just first in India but also in Asia.

While it amassed 23 million active users in India the same year, the very popular social networking site now regularly adds 2 million users a month.

"Zuck sees India as a key market...a large market for our monetization drive [and] a lead market for emerging economy models," Kirthiga Reddy, Facebook's India chief told The Times of India. Reddy also explained that India is in the second position after US with 93 million users.

Quartz reports that India, which is the second biggest market of Facebook, contributed $12.57 million in the global revenue that was $5.49 billion in the year ending 31 March last year.

"In terms of revenues (India) is minimal. Mostly it is skewed towards U.S.. But soon marketers will realize how Facebook can help increase engagement for their brands," Reuters quoted Neil Shah of Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

Facebook plans to spend more on online advertising market in India and attempted to convince companies like Hindustan Unilever, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo for the same. Presently, it has a partnership with Bharti Airtel Ltd, which is India's largest telecom company and has also teamed up with a start-up ZipDial Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

"Globally one of the best ways we take people and get them to be paying customers is (that) they start using pages and then up-sell into advertising. We've already seeing that happen in India," said Sandberg.

The COO also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday and discussed her ideas about connectivity. Modi himself is a keen user of social networking sites, said on his Facebook page after the meeting that such online platforms is better for interacting with people and will build a better connectivity between them and the government. It can also help to bring tourists in our country.

While Facebook might boast of numerous positives, it also has a flip side, such as hackers invading the privacy of users.

In 2011, Bangalore has seen cases of accounts being hacked, when several users complained that their profile images were being replaced with pornographic pictures. Around 2, 00,000 accounts were hacked and Facebook later said that the breach was caused by a spam attack that took advantage of browser vulnerability, according to TOI.

Due to such breaches, numerous users have also quit the social networking site citing privacy concerns, negative aspects and a feeling of getting addicted to it.

However, the brand believes that it has always prioritized the privacy of users and has never taken it lightly. "We take privacy and security at Facebook really seriously because that is something that allows people to share," Sandberg noted.