Facebook at 10: Highlights in the Social Networking Pioneer's History

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2014-02-06 Print this article Print

Facebook, which seems to have been around forever, turned 10 this month. The massive social networking and online force—which started off in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room in Harvard as little more than a way to let students share and rate photos of each other—now has a reported 1.23 billion members. During the last 10 years, Facebook has been a lightning rod in debates about such issues as privacy, online bullying and anonymity, while at the same time connecting more than a billion people through the network. On a technology level, it's also changing the way some organizations and developers look at data center technology. Princeton researchers last month predicted that within three years, Facebook would lose 80 percent of its users, a finding that not only Facebook officials pushed back at, but so did analysts and other industry observers. While not everyone may like Facebook, it won't die out any time soon. And as it begins its second decade of existence, it might be good to take a look back at the first 10 years. This eWEEK slide show hits some of the highlights of Facebook's growth over that time.

  • Facebook at 10: Highlights in the Social Networking Pioneer's History

    by Jeffrey Burt
    1 - Facebook at 10: Highlights in the Social Networking Pioneer's History
  • Facebook Is Lauched

    Actually, on Feb. 4, 2004, Thefacebook was launched. It was the result of the site Zuckerberg and three friends at Harvard initially called Facemash. Just days later, three other Harvard students—including the Winklevoss twins—start complaining that Zuckerberg stole their idea, and in September 2004, filed suit.
    2 - Facebook Is Lauched
  • Growing Beyond Harvard

    A month later, Facebook expands to other universities, including Stanford, Columbia and Yale. Soon afterward, it expands even more into all Ivy League schools and those around Boston, and later to most colleges in the United States and Canada.
    3 - Growing Beyond Harvard
  • Going Corporate

    Zuckerberg incorporates Facebook in the summer of 2004, and Napster founder Sean Parker, who had been advising Zuckerberg, becomes the company's president. Facebook's operations move to California.
    4 - Going Corporate
  • Welcome to the Wall

    In September 2004, Facebook rolls out the Wall, where users could write what they wanted on their profile pages.
    5 - Welcome to the Wall
  • The Expansion Continues

    In September and October 2005, Facebook grows its membership base to high schools and universities in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
    6 - The Expansion Continues
  • Adding a Business Flavor

    Facebook later makes employees of several companies, including Apple and Microsoft, eligible to join the social networking site.
    7 - Adding a Business Flavor
  • Rumors of a Sale

    MySpace, a competing social networking site, is bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in July 2005, kicking off rumors that Facebook similarly could be sold, despite Zuckerberg's earlier insistence that he didn't want to sell the company. The rumors continue into 2006, with speculation that Facebook rejected a $750 million deal.
    8 - Rumors of a Sale
  • The Membership Grows

    In December 2005, students from colleges in Australia and New Zealand become eligible to join Facebook, bringing the number of universities to more than 2,000 and high schools to more than 25,000. In September 2006, Facebook lets anyone older than 13 with a valid email address join.
    9 - The Membership Grows
  • Facebook and Yahoo Talk

    The two companies in September 2006 talk about Yahoo buying Facebook for $1 billion, though board members indicate Facebook internally puts its valuation at about $8 billion.
    10 - Facebook and Yahoo Talk
  • Staying Put

    In July 2007, Zuckerberg says that he has no intention of selling Facebook and that he doesn't want to take it public. He'd rather keep it independent. "It's just not the core focus of the company," he said.
    11 - Staying Put
  • Facebook Launches Platform

    Through Platform, which kicks off in May 2007, Facebook lets programmers from outside the company develop software to enable users to do everything from sharing photos to playing games.
    12 - Facebook Launches Platform
  • Microsoft Comes Onboard

    The software giant in October 2007 spends $240 million for a 1.6 percent share of the company.
    13 - Microsoft Comes Onboard
  • Another Privacy Misstep

    Facebook rolls out the Beacon feature, which opens up users' various activities to sites outside Facebook. It doesn't last long, with users pushing back over privacy issues.
    14 - Another Privacy Misstep
  • Going Big on Business

    By late 2007, Facebook has 100,000 business pages, through which organizations let users and potential customers know about them.
    15 - Going Big on Business
  • Sheryl Sandberg Comes Aboard

    In March 2008, Facebook hires the Google vet as its chief operating officer. Sandberg moves the social network to focus on advertising as the prime source for revenue. In September 2009, Facebook for the first time becomes cash-flow positive.
    16 - Sheryl Sandberg Comes Aboard
  • Facebook Gets Chatty

    Facebook in April 2008 rolls out its Chat application to let users ping each other in real time.
    17 - Facebook Gets Chatty
  • Facebook Goes Green

    In October 2008, Facebook sets up its international headquarters in Dublin.
    18 - Facebook Goes Green
  • Facebook Lets People 'Like'

    In February 2009, the "Like" feature is unveiled, letting users give a thumbs-up to posts on other users' sites.
    19 - Facebook Lets People 'Like'
  • Facebook Overtakes MySpace

    Zuckerberg's juggernaut passes MySpace as the United States' largest social network.
    20 - Facebook Overtakes MySpace
  • Making It Onto the Silver Screen

    The movie "The Social Network" is released in October 2010, a highly praised but less-than-flattering look at Zuckerberg's creation of Facebook.
    21 - Making It Onto the Silver Screen
  • Storing Photos

    By February 2011, Facebook becomes the largest host for online photos, with the expectations that the numbers of photos would hit 100 billion by that summer.
    22 - Storing Photos
  • Chatting With Skype

    Facebook partners with Skype in June 2011, enabling the social network to offer video chat. Late that year, Facebook partners with Heroku to offer an application development platform.
    23 - Chatting With Skype
  • Facebook Rolls Out Timeline

    Timeline, which launches in December 2011, packages users' personal online histories into an easily accessible Web page, drawing criticism for being sort of creepy.
    24 - Facebook Rolls Out Timeline
  • Hitting Big Profits

    Facebook officials in early 2012 say that profits reached $1 billion in 2011. In February, they also file for an initial public offering (IPO).
    25 - Hitting Big Profits
  • Bring on Instagram

    Facebook spends $1 billion to buy the online photo-sharing business Instagram.
    26 - Bring on Instagram
  • Facebook Goes Public

    In May 2012, Facebook sets the price range for its IPO at $28 to $35, then $34 to $38 before settling on $38. After the IPO—which raised $16 billion—the company's stock price falls as investors worry about revenue and mobile ads. Federal regulators later investigate banks over what information they gave what clients.
    27 - Facebook Goes Public
  • Membership Continues to Skyrocket

    Facebook officials in October 2012 say membership in the social network hits 1 billion.
    28 - Membership Continues to Skyrocket
  • Facebook and Search

    everything a user has personally touched, shared or "Liked."
    29 - Facebook and Search
  • Sandberg Leans In

    Facebook's COO in March 2013 publishes her controversial book, "Lean In," which offers advice to women in the workplace.
    30 - Sandberg Leans In
  • Facebook's Trending Topics

    The social network in January 2014 adds a feature called "Trending," which gives people a list of popular topics at the moment.
    31 - Facebook's Trending Topics
  • Facebook's News Feed Goes Mobile

    In February, as the company turns 10, Facebook unveils Paper, a mobile app that essentially shows the social network's News Feed.
    32 - Facebook's News Feed Goes Mobile

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