Just last week we celebrated 14 years of Facebook life. For many, it’s a major part of history that has helped to shape and forge the very society in which we live in. For others, it’s another step towards authoritarian watching of every man, woman and child on the planet. While you likely may sit somewhere in the middle of these two wildly contrasting views, it’s safe to say that you’ve heard of Facebook, right?
We would just like to say a nice (belated) happy birthday to Facebook. Facebook was ‘born’ on the 4th February 2004, when it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg. Alongside Eduardo Saverin, the two college students set up the site as a small limited pool for Harvard and ex-Harvard students to connect with. Now, while that does little to persuade people who think it’s morally dubious, it was only the start – and given who set it up, those early beginnings shouldn’t be too surprising.
If you have ever watched the movie The Social Network, then you’ll know that the history and development of Facebook is hardly controversy-free. Before long, they had taken in just about every academic institution in America before, in 2006, they opened their doors to anyone over the age of 13 and with access to a valid e-mail address.
Before it was Facebook, though, it was TheFaceBook and, before that FaceMash. It was actually a bit crass at first; a “hot or not” game for Harvard students. While it was a bit of fun and helped to show off his coding qualities, it was an inauspicious start for what would soon become one of the most powerful corps in the world.
By 2008, growth was rapid and the site was now boosting an absolutely unbelievable 100m users. It’s interesting to note that since Facebook started, it has never dropped on a year-by-year user limit. Today, at the time of writing, come the end of 2016 Facebook had just over 1.86 BILLION users.
That kind of rapid growth is nigh-impossible to sustain, but it appears that Zuckerburg has found the secret. The website has changed constantly, with alterations coming from the way the site works to how its algorithms shows items in your timeline. While it’s never been plain sailing, with the 2012 Yahoo vs Facebook lawsuit being quite a major moment in the history of the site, Facebook has always maintained regular and rapid growth.
From its development of new story-based algorithms to changes to the news feed and various other alterations – including the latest “banning” of news sources it does not deem credible, Facebook has changed entirely. What started out as a simple social media site for universities soon became one of the strongest business empires on the planet.
With billions going through the site in ad revenue and marketing campaigns, the site has become more than just a social media platform. People run their entire businesses on Facebook; it has become a platform for news, drama, entertainment and so much more. Many don’t like what Facebook has become, but it’s hard to deny that it’s 14-year lifespan so far has been anything but dull.
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