Facebook enters phase of exponential growth

Watch out, MySpace. Facebook’s on the rise. Interesting Yahoo! News report about Facebook opening up to third-party developers as well as non-graduates.

After the site opened up registration to non-college students last September, it evolved into a major social networking destination to rival MySpace.com, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate News Corp.

Facebook now has more than 24 million users who have logged on in the past 30 days. Venture capital firms including Accel Partners have contributed more than $35 million.

Critics say Facebook — which is getting more than 100,000 new registrations per day — can’t maintain its scorching growth rate. Others worry that [founder Mark] Zuckerberg and the company’s other 20-something technophiles lack the experience and credibility to turn the site into a profitable, publicly traded company.

On Thursday in San Francisco, Zuckerberg — who sported a fleece jacket, baggy jeans and flip-flops — seemed well aware of the challenges ahead. Technical gaffes dogged his nearly hour-long speech, and he broke out in a visible sweat.

“We’re the sixth most trafficked site in the U.S. and we can’t seem to get our act together,” Zuckerberg joked as he fumbled to synchronize his presentation slides, which were in disarray.

After laughs from the crowd, he regained his composure and added, “We recently passed eBay in traffic and we’re working on passing Google, too.”