Facebook


Overview

Published: 09/28/2014

by Santhosh Ganesh

Photos

Facebook

 Facebook was founded on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo SaverinAndrew McCollumDustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.[8] The founders had initially limited the website's membership to Harvard students, but later expanded it to colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities and later to their high-school students. Facebook now allows anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old worldwide to become a registered user of the website, although proof is not required.[9]

After registering to use the site, users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, exchange messages, post status updates and photos, and receive notifications when others update their profiles. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work" or "Close Friends". Facebook had over one billion active users as of September 2012,[10] of which approximately 9% were fake.[11] By that point, Facebook was adding about half a petabyte of data every 24 hours, amounting to about 180 petabytes per year.[12] Due to the large volume of data collected about users, the service's privacy policies have faced scrutiny, among othercriticisms. Facebook, Inc. held its initial public offering in February 2012 and began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching a peak market capitalization of $104 billion.

 

Zuckerberg wrote a program called Facemash on October 28, 2003 while attending Harvard as a sophomore. According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not and "used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the 'hotter' person"[13][14]

To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into protected areas of Harvard's computer network and copied private dormitory ID images. Harvard did not have a student "Facebook" (a directory with photos and basic information) at the time, although individual houses had been issuing their own paper facebooks since the mid-1980s. Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.[13][15]

The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers,[clarification needed] but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped.[16] Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final. He uploaded 500 Augustan images to a website, and each image was featured with a corresponding comments section.[15] He shared the site with his classmates and people started sharing notes.

The following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website in January 2004. He said he was inspired by an editorial about the Facemash incident in The Harvard Crimson.[17] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "Thefacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com.[18]

Six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors (Cameron WinklevossTyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra) accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com. They claimed he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.[19] The three complained to The Harvard Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. They later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, subsequently settling in 2008[20] for 1.2 million shares(worth $300 million at Facebook's IPO).[21]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College; within the first month, more than half the undergraduates at Harvard were registered on the service.[22] Eduardo Saverin (business aspects), Dustin Moskovitz (programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help promote the website. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to the universities of ColumbiaStanford, and Yale.[23] It later opened to all Ivy League colleges, Boston UniversityNew York UniversityMIT, and gradually most universities in Canada and the United States.[24][25]

In mid-2004, entrepreneur Sean Parker (an informal advisor to Zuckerberg) became the company's president.[26] In June 2004, Facebook moved its operations base to Palo Alto, California.[23] It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.[27] In 2005, the company dropped the from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com for $200,000.[28]

In May 2005, Accel partners invested $12.7 million in Facebook, and Jim Breyer[29] added $1 million of his own money. A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users.[30] Entertainment Weekly included the site on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?"[31]

 
Mark Zuckerberg co-creator of Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, 2005.

A high-school version of the site was launched in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step.[32] (At the time, high-school networks required an invitation to join.)[33] Facebook expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft.[34] On September 26, 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address.[35][36]

In late 2007, Facebook had 100,000 business pages (pages which allowed companies to promote themselves and attract customers). These started as group pages, but a new concept called company pages was planned.[37] Pages began rolling out for businesses in May 2009.[38]

On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion.[39] Microsoft's purchase included rights to place international adverts on the social networking site.[40] In October 2008, Facebook announced that it would set up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.[41] In September 2009, Facebook said that it had turned cash-flow positive for the first time.[42] In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc. (an exchange for privately held companies' shares), Facebook's value was $41 billion; it slightly surpassed eBay's to become the third largest American web company afterGoogle and Amazon.com.[43]

 
Facebook headquarters entrance sign at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California

Traffic to Facebook increased steadily after 2009. More people visited Facebook than Google for the week ending March 13, 2010.[44]

In March 2011, it was reported that Facebook takes approximately 20,000 profiles offline every day for infractions including spam, inappropriate content and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber security.[45]

In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move its headquarters to the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park.[46][47]

Release of statistics by DoubleClick showed that Facebook reached one trillion page views in the month of June 2011, making it the most visited website tracked by DoubleClick.[48]

According to the Nielsen Media Research study, released in December 2011, Facebook is the second most accessed website in the US (behind Google).[49]

Facebook eventually filed for an initial public offering on February 1, 2012; it is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.[50] Facebook held an initial public offering on May 17, 2012, negotiating a share price of $38 apiece. The company was valued at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.[51] Facebook Inc. began selling stock to the public and trading on the NASDAQ on May 18, 2012.[52] Based on its 2012 income of US$5 billion, Facebook joined the Fortune 500 list for the first time on the list published in May 2013, being placed at position 462