Very Famous Social Networking web site Facebook has just turned 10 years. We bring a review about the 10 years of social network.
Not even Zuckerberg himself could have predicted just how vast Facebook has become. At time of writing, the social network is estimated to have around 1.23 billion users.
Now in its tenth year, Facebook has become such an intrinsic part of daily life that many can’t imagine a world without it.
But how has the social network changed over the years? What has Facebook done to transform itself into the institution it is today? Below is a brief history of Facebook’s rise to power.
Facebook wasn’t originally called Facebook. It started life during Zuckerberg’s second year of college as Facemash.
Designed as a simple means to compare ‘hot or not’ for Harvard students, it was nothing like the Facebook we know now.
Key to Facemash was photos. This is something that remains today, with Facebook’s core audience still being driven by the website’s photo sharing abilities.
TheFacebook.com – February 4, 2004
If you have never seen David Fincher’s The Social Network, then you might not be aware of the fact that Facebook originally had a ‘The’ to its name.
thefacebook.com launched on January 4, 2004 and is widely regarded as the starting point for what is the modern social network.
Zuckerberg coded the website after being inspired by the success of Facemash. It was such a success that within just a month of existence, it had more than half the entire undergraduate population of Harvard signed up.
MySpace rejects Facebook offer – February 2005
Remember MySpace? It was the social network that could’ve been. It made one crucial mistake though.
A meeting between Chris DeWolfe (MySpace CEO) and Mark Zuckerberg allegedly discussed MySpace acquiring the then-rising social network.
Zuckerberg was said to want $75 million for his website. Not much when you think Facebook is now valued at around $120 billion.
TheFacebook becomes Facebook – August 23, 2005
So rapid was Facebook’s growth that Zuckerberg found himself soon mixing with California’s technological elite.
Sean Parker, the genius behind Napster, was acting as an adviser for Mark Zuckerberg as he grew the Facebook brand.
Eventually, he convinced Zuckerberg to drop the ‘the’ from the name. This led to the purchase of Facebook.com’s domain name in 2005 for $200,000.
Investors send Facebook into the big time – 2004 to 2007
In order to grow to its current scale, Facebook needed some outside help from investors. Aided by Sean Parker, Zuckerberg met with investor Peter Thiel, who put down an initial $500,000 for 10.2 percent of the company.
Investment continued, from the likes of Microsoft, Accel Partners and more. Crucially though, Zuckerberg remained in control of Facebook and continues to.
Despite serious talks of a buyout with the likes of Yahoo!, Zuckerberg kept Facebook his own. In July of 2007, he went on record stating he wasn’t looking to sell the company.
Facebook launches News Feed – September 5. 2006
It’s hard to imagine a Facebook without a News Feed, but the core of the social network’s user interface wasn’t actually launched until September of 2006.
Prior to News Feed, Facebook was still a fairly rudimental social network. It had no means to properly see what other friends were getting up to and existed more as a search engine for photos and an instant messaging service for friends.
Facebook opens its doors to everyone – September 26, 2006
This is the biggest moment in Facebook’s history so far. Until this point, Facebook had been a largely closed website for those in education, but now Facebook was open to everyone with a valid email address who was aged 13 and over.
“You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again; here at Facebook, we want to help people understand their world. We started at one school, and realized over and over again that this site was useful to everyone – not just to Harvard students, not just to college students, not just to students, not just to former students. We’ve kept growing to accommodate this fact,” said Zuckerberg.
“This includes your friends who graduated pre-Facebook (yes, there was such a time), your friends who don’t have school or work email addresses, and your friends whose schools don’t give out email addresses. Now you can all connect.”
Facebook for iPhone app launches – July 10, 2008
By this point, Facebook already had a fairly functional mobile website. 2008, however, was the year of the app; it was when the iPhone started to really take over and the App Store become crucial to its success.
Facebook saw this and got in there early, launching an application which would let you upload photos straight from your iPhone to the social network.
Looking back at the application, it appears hugely rudimentary compared to what smartphone users enjoy now. Still though, photo sharing and Facebook chat on the go was a big deal back in 2008.
Facebook reaches 150 million users – January 7, 2009
By this point Facebook’s growth appears fairly unstoppable. Reaching 150 million users is a milestone for any website, but to achieve it in such a short space of time is incredible.
Facebook launches the ‘Like’ – February 10, 2009
Facebook’s ‘Like’ has now evolved into a vastly complex commercial entity, but in its infancy, it was merely an “easy way to tell friends that you like what they’re sharing on Facebook with one easy click”
Little did Facebook now just how powerful the ‘Like’ would become. Or did they?
Facebook’s privacy woes begin – February 17, 2009
Facebook issued an updated terms of service at the start of 2009 that implied the social network could hold on to your photos even after you had stopped using it. It caused a massive amount of controversy and sparked a U-turn amongst the network’s top brass back to its old terms of service.
Facebook would then allow users themselves to vote on any changes made to its terms of service, up until 2012 at least.
Facebook teams up with Skype to bring video to chat – October 14, 2010
Facebook already had a massively popular instant messaging service in the form of Facebook Chat. It formed the backbone of most people’s messaging on the social network.
Up until this point, however, it remained a purely text-only affair. Facebook decided to change this by pairing up with Skype to bring video direct into chat. We feel it’s a feature that a lot of people have forgotten even exists, but at the time represented a major move forward for Facebook.
Facebook launches on feature phones – January 19, 2011
The social network has quite openly stated that mobile is its core focus for the future. Traffic to the website continues to grow from smartphone users and, ultimately, Facebook will be no good if no-one is using it.
The company also wants to get Facebook into the pockets and hands of as many people as possible, so by extending out beyond the reaches of the smartphone and into the world of the budget handset, it greatly expanded its possible mobile user base.
Facebook for feature phones was symbolic in that it represented a continued path towards improving Facebook’s mobile experience. So much so that Zuckerberg himself is said to be giving the keynote at Mobile World Congress in 2014.
The new look Facebook Timeline arrives – September 22, 2011
The look and feel of Facebook had been something fairly sacred since its inception. This, however, was all to change by September 2011 with the launch of the Timeline.
Many users had been on Facebook for long enough that they had accrued a fairly complete visual and text-history of their lives. Timeline was all about letting you go back and see how your time on the social network had developed, while controlling what appeared and didn’t appear on your profile page.
Initially met with a fair amount of controversy, Timeline has now become the de facto way that everyone interacts with Facebook.
Instagram gets bought – April 9, 2012
If there was ever going to be a competitor to Facebook, it would be Instagram. Such a rapid rate of growth, combined with the fact that Instagram was both photo and mobile-focused, meant that buying it out was the best option.
Facebook therefore made a $1 billion offer to Instagram’s 13 employees. Not an easy one to turn down, Instagram made the decision to join forces with Facebook. Since then, the app has launched in web-page form as well as growing massively across multiple devices.
Now at around 150 million users, Instagram has started to implement in-line advertising to help generate cash for Facebook.
The social network turns 10 – February 4, 2014
Quite a roller coaster ride then. From its humble beginnings in a Harvard bedroom, to a website responsible for keeping more than a billion people connected, it has become a digital institution and one that the modern age takes completely for granted.
Where next for the social network? Well, clearly mobile and tablets are what will define the world of technology over the coming years. Facebook has already had a few attempts at getting things right, but we are convinced they will be on to a winner soon enough.
What exactly that will be, however, is for Facebook to know and you to find out.