Facebook

Facebook, American company offering online social networking services. Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, all of whom were students at Harvard University. Facebook became the largest social network in the world, with more than one billion users as of 2012, and about half that number were using Facebook every day. The company’s headquarters are in Menlo Park, California.

Access to Facebook is free of charge, and the company earns most of its money from advertisements on the Web site. New users can create profiles, upload photos, join a preexisting group, and start new groups. The site has many components, including Timeline, a space on each user’s profile page where users can post their content and friends can post messages; Status, which enables users to alert friends to their current location or situation; and News Feed, which informs users of changes to their friends’ profiles and status. Users can chat with each other and send each other private messages. Users can signal their approval of content on Facebook with the Like button, a feature that also appears on many other Web sites.

The attractiveness of Facebook stems in part from cofounder Zuckerberg’s insistence from the very beginning that members be transparent about who they are; users are forbidden from adopting false identities. The company’s management argued that transparency is necessary for forming personal relationships, sharing ideas and information, and building up society as a whole. It also noted that the bottom-up, peer-to-peer connectivity among Facebook users makes it easier for businesses to connect their products with consumers.The company has a complicated early history. It began at Harvard University in 2003 as Facemash, an online service for students to judge the attractiveness of their fellow students. Because the primary developer, Zuckerberg, violated university policy in acquiring resources for the service, it was shut down after two days. Despite its mayflylike existence, 450 people (who voted 22,000 times) flocked to Facemash. That success prompted Zuckerberg to register the URL http://www.thefacebook.com in January 2004. He then created a new social network at that address with fellow students Saverin, Moskovitz, and Hughes.

Facebook

American company
  

Facebook, American company offering online social networking services. Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, all of whom were students at Harvard University. Facebook became the largest social network in the world, with more than one billion users as of 2012, and about half that number were using Facebook every day. The company’s headquarters are in Menlo ParkCalifornia.

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Facebook
QUICK FACTS
DATE
  • 2004 – present
HEADQUARTERS
RELATED PEOPLE
AREAS OF INVOLVEMENT

Access to Facebook is free of charge, and the company earns most of its money from advertisements on the Web site. New users can create profiles, upload photos, join a preexisting group, and start new groups. The site has many components, including Timeline, a space on each user’s profile page where users can post their content and friends can post messages; Status, which enables users to alert friends to their current location or situation; and News Feed, which informs users of changes to their friends’ profiles and status. Users can chat with each other and send each other private messages. Users can signal their approval of content on Facebook with the Like button, a feature that also appears on many other Web sites.

The attractiveness of Facebook stems in part from cofounder Zuckerberg’s insistence from the very beginning that members be transparent about who they are; users are forbidden from adopting false identities. The company’s management argued that transparency is necessary for forming personal relationships, sharing ideas and information, and building up society as a whole. It also noted that the bottom-up, peer-to-peer connectivity among Facebook users makes it easier for businesses to connect their products with consumers.

The company has a complicated early history. It began at Harvard University in 2003 as Facemash, an online service for students to judge the attractiveness of their fellow students. Because the primary developer, Zuckerberg, violated university policy in acquiring resources for the service, it was shut down after two days. Despite its mayflylike existence, 450 people (who voted 22,000 times) flocked to Facemash. That success prompted Zuckerberg to register the URL http://www.thefacebook.com in January 2004. He then created a new social network at that address with fellow students Saverin, Moskovitz, and Hughes.

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The social network TheFacebook.com launched in February 2004. Harvard students who signed up for the service could post photographs of themselves and personal information about their lives, such as their class schedules and clubs they belonged to. Its popularity increased, and soon students from other prestigious schools, such as Yale and Stanford universities, were allowed to join. By June 2004 more than 250,000 students from 34 schools had signed up, and that same year major corporations such as the credit-card company MasterCard started paying for exposure on the site.The year 2005 proved to be pivotal for the company. It became simply Facebook and introduced the idea of “tagging” people in photos that were posted to the site. With tags, people identified themselves and others in images that could be seen by other Facebook friends. Facebook also allowed users to upload an unlimited number of photos. In 2005 high-school students and students at universities outside the United States were allowed to join the service. By year’s end it had six million monthly active users.

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