Facebook IPO announcement on tap?

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At long last, Facebook is expected to announce this week that it's going public.

The Mark Zuckerberg-led company could be the biggest initial public offering ever for an Internet company, perhaps even topping the record-breaking Google offering back in 2004.

When Facebook starts selling shares to the public, Zuckerberg is likely to be worth $24 billion.

Facebook IPO near?

By this summer, Facebook is forecast to have one billion users: one of every seven people on the planet. But it's not just the total number of users -- it's how long they stay, according to CNET editor-at-large, Rafe Needleman.

"Once you're on Facebook, you're on for half an hour or an hour at a time," Needleman said. "No other company has that."

And the more time users spend, the more advertising Facebook can send their way, often from companies awarding coupons for a click of the "like" button.

Facebook's value to advertisers is based on how much it knows about its users. But that leads to the frequent criticism that Facebook compromises privacy.

"It's called the 'digital tattoo,'" Needleman said. "What you do online and what is recorded in a site like Facebook stays with you forever."

Facebook is forecast to bring in more than $5.7 billion in ad revenue this year, up from about $4 billion in 2011. Investors will expect ad sales to keep rising if Facebook is to live up to the $100 billion value projected for its IPO.

For more on Facebook's expected announcement, click on the video above. And for discussion with Andy Serwer, of Fortune, on what this could mean for Facebook users, including whether the company may eventually impose a fee, click on the video below.

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.