Facebook is a social networking service launched as FaceMash in July 2003, but later changing to TheFacebook on February 4, 2004. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommate and fellow Harvard University student Eduardo Saverin. The website’s membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and gradually most universities in the United States and Canada, corporations, and by September 2006, to everyone with a valid email address along with an age requirement of being and older.
Facebook (FB – Get Report) , from its inception, has been fraught with controversy – from the debacle with the Winklevoss brothers over its founding to recent allegations of hacking and data harvesting. Still, as a social media site that more than 2 billion people use regularly, Facebook is more than likely an integral part of your online presence and daily routine. But, how did the social media empire start, and what’s happening in 2018?
History of Facebook
Founded on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook has rapidly became one of the biggest social networking sites in the world. Within the year, the social networking site accrued over 1 million users – which has since grown exponentially to hit over 2 billion in 2018.
But how did this college startup become one of the world’s largest companies, with a presence in dozens of countries worldwide?
How Was Facebook Founded?
In a legal battle that ended with a comfortable settlement of over $65 million, Facebook’s parentage was a source of debate for years until Zuckerberg settled with the Winklevoss twins in 2008.
According to Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Zuckerberg reneged on an agreement to help them build their own social media site at Harvard – and, instead, used the code and idea to inspire the creation of Facebook. And while the dispute was eventually settled in 2008, Facebook’s inception was clouded in questions.
But before there was Facebook, there was Facemash.
In 2003, as a sophomore, Zuckerberg created a site that compared the pictures of different Harvard students’ faces and allowed users to rate the attractiveness of those pictures – attracting 450 people to vote 22,000 times. However, because Zuckerberg violated the school’s policy by hacking into the school’s system to acquire photos for the site, it was shut down quickly by the university – within two days. Still, Zuckerberg avoided expulsion. However, Facemash’s success sparked the idea for Facebook – a social networking site where students at Harvard could use their “.edu” email addresses and photos to connect with other students at the school.
Let’s break it down.
February, 2004 – Facebook (then called “thefacebook”) was founded by Zuckerberg, Moskovitz, Saverin and Hughes.
March, 2004 – Facebook spreads to three other college campuses – Yale, Columbia and Stanford.
June, 2004 – Facebook moves its headquarters to Palo Alto, California.
September, 2004 – The site launches the now infamous “wall” – which allows users to post things and receive messages on their own page.
December, 2004 – Facebook hits 1 million users.
May, 2005 – Facebook expands to over 800 college campuses.
September, 2005 – The site expands to high school networks. It also drops the “the” to become just “Facebook.”
October, 2005 – Facebook adds photos and goes international.
December, 2005 – Facebook has over 6 million users.
April, 2006 – Facebook goes mobile.
September, 2006 – Anyone can now join Facebook.
December, 2006 – Membership increases to 12 million.
June, 2007 – Video launches.
December, 2007 – Membership increases to 58 million.
July, 2008 – Launch of Facebook for iPhone.
February, 2009 – The “like” button is introduced.
July, 2010 – Over 500 million users are active on Facebook.
August, 2010 – Engineering center is opened in Seattle.
October, 2010 – Groups are launched.
April, 2011 – Data center opens in Prineville, Oregon.
July, 2011 – Video calling is launched.
April, 2012 – Acquisition of Instagram is announced.
May, 2012 – Facebook releases their IPO – which raised $16 billion and gave the company a $102.4 billion market value.
October, 2012 – Membership hits the 1 billion mark.
February, 2013 – Acquisition of Atlas is announced.
June, 2013 – Facebook’s acquisition Instagram launches video.
February, 2014 – Acquisition of WhatsApp is announced.
March, 2014 – Acquisition of Oculus is announced.
November, 2014 – Groups App is announced.
April, 2015 – Over 40 million small business pages are on Facebook.
June, 2015 – Facebook’s AI Research opens in Paris.
February, 2016 – Facebook’s Reactions launches.
July, 2016 – Over 1 billion users of Messenger a month.
October, 2016 – Marketplace launches – allowing users to buy and sell products.
April, 2017 – F8 developer’s conference is held in San Jose by Facebook.
March, 2018 – Facebook is sued by shareholders following stock plummet.
April, 2018 – Zuckerberg testifies before Congress regarding concerns over data and privacy breaches.
September, 2018 – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before Congress alongside Twitter (TWTR – Get Report) executives.