2004-02-04 to Present
U.S. - Ireland - EnglandFacebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Zuckerberg built a website called "Facemash" in 2003 while attending Harvard University. 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". Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours. The site was sent to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by Harvard administration.
A "face book" is a student directory featuring photos and personal information.In 2003, Harvard had only a paper version along with private online directories. Zuckerberg told the Crimson, "Everyone's been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard. I think it's kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week."
In January 2004, Zuckerberg coded a new website, known as "TheFacebook", inspired by a Crimson editorial about Facemash, stating "It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available ... the benefits are many." Zuckerberg met with Harvard student Eduardo Saverin, and each of them agreed to invest $1,000 in the site.
Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College. Within a month, more than half the undergraduates had registered. Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help manage the growth of the website. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Columbia, Stanford and Yale. and then to all Ivy League colleges, Boston University, New York University, MIT, and successively most universities in the United States and Canada.
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. Microsoft's purchase included rights to place international advertisements.
On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced "Facebook Beta", a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a cleaner look. Facebook began migrating users to the new version in September 2008.
The "like" button, stylized as a "thumbs up" icon, was first enabled on February 9, 2009, and enables users to easily interact with status updates, comments, photos and videos, links shared by friends and advertisements.
On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted a patent on certain aspects of its News Feed. The patent covers News Feeds in which links are provided so that one user can participate in the activity of another user. The sorting and display of stories in a user's News Feed is governed by the EdgeRank algorithm.
In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc. (an exchange for privately held companies' shares), Facebook's value was $41 billion. The company had slightly surpassed eBay to become the third largest American web company after Google and Amazon.com.
On July 29, 2011, Facebook announced its Bug Bounty Program that paid security researchers a minimum of $500 for reporting security holes. The company promised not to pursue "white hat" hackers who identified such problems.
Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application. It began as Facebook Chat in 2008, was revamped in 2010 and eventually became a standalone mobile app in August 2011, while remaining part of the user page on browsers.
Each registered user on Facebook has a personal profile that shows their posts and content. The format of individual user pages was revamped in September 2011 and became known as "Timeline", a chronological feed of a user's stories, including status updates, photos, interactions with apps and events.
In October 2012 Facebook's monthly active users passed one billion, with 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections. The 2 billion user mark was crossed in June 2017.
On April 15, 2013, Facebook announced an alliance across 19 states with the National Association of Attorneys General, to provide teenagers and parents with information on tools to manage social networking profiles.
In February 2014, Facebook expanded the gender setting, adding a custom input field that allows users to choose from a wide range of gender identities. Users can also set which set of gender-specific pronoun should be used in reference to them throughout the site.
On March 20, 2014, Facebook announced a new open-source programming language called Hack. Before public release, a large portion of Facebook was already running and "battle tested" using the new language.
In May 2014, Facebook introduced a feature to allow users to ask for information not disclosed by other users on their profiles. If a user does not provide key information, such as location, hometown, or relationship status, other users can use a new "ask" button to send a message asking about that item to the user in a single click.
Following the 2016 presidential election, Facebook announced that it would combat fake news by using fact checkers from sites like FactCheck.org and Associated Press (AP), making reporting hoaxes easier through crowdsourcing, and disrupting financial incentives for abusers.
In October, Facebook announced a fee-based communications tool called Workplace that aims to "connect everyone" at work. Users can create profiles, see updates from co-workers on their news feed, stream live video and participate in secure group chats.
In January 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Stories for iOS and Android in Ireland. The feature, following the format of Snapchat and Instagram stories, allows users to upload photos and videos that appear above friends' and followers' News Feeds and disappear after 24 hours.
In 2017, Facebook added "Messenger Day", a feature that lets users share photos and videos in a story-format with all their friends with the content disappearing after 24 hours; Reactions, which lets users tap and hold a message to add a reaction through an emoji; and Mentions, which lets users in group conversations type @ to give a particular user a notification.
Facebook customer Global Science Research sold information on over 87 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm. According to The Guardian both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica threatened to sue the newspaper if it published the story. After publication, Facebook claimed that it had been "lied to". On March 23, 2018, The English High Court granted an application by the Information Commissioner's Office for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's London offices, ending a standoff between Facebook and the Information Commissioner over responsibility.
On March 26, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into the matter. The controversy led Facebook to end its partnerships with data brokers who aid advertisers in targeting users.
On July 18, Facebook established a subsidiary named Lianshu Science & Technology in Hangzhou City, China, with $30 million of capital. All its shares are held by Facebook Hong. Approval of the registration of the subsidiary was then withdrawn, due to a disagreement between officials in Zhejiang province and the Cyberspace Administration of China.
On July 26, Facebook became the first company to lose over $100 billion worth of market capitalization in one day, dropping from nearly $630 billion to $510 billion after disappointing sales reports.
On September 19, Facebook announced that, for news distribution outside the United States, it would work with U.S. funded democracy promotion organizations, International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, which are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic parties.
On September 28, 2018, Facebook experienced a major breach in its security, exposing the data of 50 million users. The data breach started in July 2017 and was discovered on September 16.Facebook notified users affected by the exploit and logged them out of their accounts.
In November, Facebook launched smart displays branded Portal and Portal Plus (Portal+). They support Amazon's Alexa (intelligent personal assistant service). The devices include video chat function with Facebook Messenger.
In March 2019, Facebook confirmed a password compromise of millions of Facebook lite application users, however in April the company further stated that it was not just limited to Facebook but had also affected millions of Instagram users. The reason cited was the storage of password as plain text instead of encryption which could be read by its employees.
In March 2019, the perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand used Facebook to stream live footage of the attack as it unfolded. Facebook took 29 minutes to detect the livestreamed video, which was eight minutes longer than it took police to arrest the gunman. About 1.3M copies of the video were blocked from Facebook but 300,000 copies were published and shared.
On 4 April 2019, half a billion records of Facebook users were found exposed on Amazon cloud servers, containing information about users’ friends, likes, groups, and checked-in locations, as well as “names, passwords and email addresses.
On April 24, 2019, Facebook said it could face a fine between $3 billion to $5 billion as the result of an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The agency has been investigating Facebook for possible privacy violations, but has not announced any findings yet.
In May 2019, Facebook founded Libra Networks, reportedly in order to develop their own stablecoin cryptocurrency. In recent developments it has been reported that Libra is being supported by financial companies like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber. The consortium of companies is expected to pool in $10 million each to fund the launch of the cryptocurrency coin named Libra.
On May 2, 2019 at F8, the company announced its new vision with the tagline "the future is private". A redesign of the website and mobile app was introduced, dubbed as "FB5". The event also featured plans for improving groups, a dating platform, end-to-end encryption on its platforms, and allowing users on Messenger to communicate directly with WhatsApp and Instagram users.
On July 3, 2019, Facebook's option to view and load pictures stopped working as people around the world complained. Facebook posted on Twitter about the issue and said they would resolve it as soon as they could.