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Friday, September 03, 2010, 05:30 pm PT (08:30 pm ET)

Ping draws over 1 million users in first 48 hours

Apple announced Friday that its Ping social network for music has reached more than 1 million users in its first 48 hours after launch.

The Cupertino, Calif., company issued a press release to announce the good news. "One-third of the people who have downloaded iTunes 10 have joined Ping," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. Cue expects the service to continue growing in coming weeks as more people download iTunes 10.

At Wednesday's keynote, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described Ping as "sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes." Users can follow artists and friends, and find out what others are purchasing and listening to.

With 160 million iTunes users in 23 countries, Ping has a ready audience, although users will have to opt-in to the service after downloading the latest version of iTunes.

Ping launched to mixed reactions. In response to Wednesday's product announcements, several analysts thought Ping "stole the show," while others questioned the viability of the social network.

The "social music discovery" service initially included a Facebook Connect option for finding friends, but the feature was quickly disabled. Jobs told journalist Kara Swisher Wednesday that the terms demanded by Facebook were "onerous."

Not all of the 1 million users are legitimate, though. Hours after launch, spammers had already begun posting links to "free iPhones" and scams. Numerous fake celebrity accounts have been created as well.