Facebook is set to pass the significant milestone of one billion users in August, according to digital marketing firm iCrossing, which made its estimation based on the social network’s recent growth.

facebook 1 billion users 520x301 Fuelled by emerging markets, Facebook set to hit 1 billion users in August

It’s been well documented that Facebook has seen a slow down in new sign-ups in Western markets, like the US, where it is coming close to saturation point amongst Internet users, but developing markets are picking up the slack and pushing it towards the landmark.

Facebook has built itself to 800 million users, more than half of which log-in each day, and iCrossing explains the significant role that emerging markets have played:

Developing countries such as India and Brazil have shown strong growth with India growing from 22 million users to 36 million and Brazil going from 13 million to 30 million in the last 9 months.

Both are large countries with millions of potential users who have yet to sign up to Facebook, with only 3% of India’s population on Facebook and 16% of Brazil’s (compared to 49% of America’s population or 47% of the UK’s population) countries such as these will clearly contribute heavily to Facebook’s continued growth.

With Internet penetration low in Brazil, India and other emerging markets where Facebook is growing, there is huge scope for the social network to attract even greater numbers of people. Mobile is likely to be a key part of this, with smartphone and Internet-enabled devices providing more affordable net access and a gateway to more Facebook users.

There are a couple of big moments coming up for Facebook in 2012, as we looked at earlier this month, and while details of its IPO are as yet unknown, we can set our clocks for August time, or roundabouts.

Facebook has pioneered a change in online communication and who is to say where it will go in the next five years, let alone the preceding twelve months.