Facebook is today offering up for sale more than 484 million shares that are expected to raise nearly $18.5 billion for the world's most popular social networking site (and the people that own it). Here's an infographic from of facts and figures related to Facebook's IPO, from Elevate Local.

By close of play today the fun site put together by Mark Zuckerberg and his college mates could well have spawned a $100 billion business. It's staggering to think that as recently as 2004 Facebook was a newly launched site limited to university campus at Harvard. Now it has more than 900 million users around the world. As I said, staggering.

Security issues have bugged the site as it has grown. But Facebook itself is hugely popular and, unlike almost every other similar service, it continues to grow at a rapid rate more than seven years after it was born.

According to Facebook's stats, it has more than 900 million active users. The user demographic holds a healthy number of users in age groups from 13 up to 64 and over, each of whom can exchange messages and share photos, join common interest user groups, play games, promote events and more.

Not only the most popular online social network in the world, Facebook is the biggest photo-sharing site on the planet. It's the fastest-growing gaming platform around, and a staggeringly popular means of communication for users on every corner of the planet. Of course, that very success means that it is the world's biggest timesink, and a world-class medium for spreading scams and malware. It's also home to the profiles of at least 7.5 million children, in violation of Facebook's own terms of service.

Not even Zuckerberg could have seen Facebook's potential, but after initial success with his fellow Harvard students, Facebook was opened to other US college students, then high schools and, finally, the world. A combination of good technology and perfect, fortunate timing, it's often forgotten that Facebook's very existence was revealed to great numbers of the outside world only when Virginia Tech students live-blogged the massacre of 32 of their fellow students by a crazed gunman in 2007.

But Facebook's biggest achievement is handling an exponential growth in users and features, without imploding or selling out. Facebook is an incredible achievement. See also: 10 things you need to know about Facebook

Facebook IPO: infographic

Click to Enlarge
Source: A Summary of latest Facts & Figures – Facebook IPO