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The History of Facebook: How Facebook Became an Internet Behemoth in 8 Years

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The History of Facebook: How Facebook Became an Internet Behemoth in 8 Years
Photo © Spencer Platt

Facebook has woven itself in and around almost every aspect of the Internet. If you have a business, you better be on Facebook. Same goes for when you want to use a specific app or website that uses only Facebook Connect

It’s amazing what Facebook has achieved in under a decade. And today, as I write this on May 18, 2012, we look back at an ugly little blue and white social network for college kids that has grown into a massive public company now worth over $100 billion.

January and February 2004

In January of 2004, Mark Zuckerberg started creating what we know today as Facebook. Zuckerberg registered the domain Thefacebook.com on January 11, 2004.On February 4, 2004, it launched. It was originally called “Thefacebook” and was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz.

June 2004

Facebook gets its very first venture capitalist investment fro Peter Thiel for $500,000. Facebook is incorporated and moves its headquarters to Palo Alto, California where Napster’s own Sean Parker starts serving as president of the company.

September 2004

Harvard Students Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss from social networking site ConnectU decide to file a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg and others involved with Facebook on the grounds of stealing the idea for Facebook from them.

August, September and October 2005

On August 23, 2005, the Facebook.com domain name was purchased for $200,000 so Thefacebook.com could be moved. In September of 2005, high school networks were added to the site and international schools as well as photo sharing features were added in October.

September 2006

Facebook opened its network to anyone who had an email address as opposed to keeping it closed to just students. The Newsfeed was also launched in September of 2006.

April 2007

Facebook introduces the Mini-Feed 2.0, showing stories of activity on each user’s profile.

June 2008

Facebook settled its lawsuits with both the Winklevoss twins and Wayne Chang. Facebook ended up acquiring ConnectU for $20 million in cash as well as over $1.2 million in shares.

September 2008

Facebook introduced tabs on user profiles. By default, users were given separate tabs for their Wall, Info, Photos and Boxes, with the option to create more tabs as desired.

September and October 2008

Users protest against the new Facebook redesign. Over 400 million users sign a “Petition Against the New Facebook” to express their disapproval with the added tabs and new Chat feature.

March 2009

Facebook introduces social ads and an updated version of the profile page. The “Petition Against the New Facebook” reaches over 1.7 million signatures.

August 2009

Facebook acquires FriendFeed and experiences a positive cash flow for the first time ever.

February 2010

Facebook introduces the red counter for notifications.

April 2010

Facebook launches Community Pages, known as informative pages that show information from Wikipedia.

October 2010

The movie “The Social Network” comes out in theatres, telling the mostly true story of how Facebook came to be.

January 2011

Facebook is valued at $50 billion after $500 is invested in the company for one percent ownership.

February 2011

Facebook makes changes to the profile page yet again, this time introducing the photo strip across the top of every user’s profile.

June 2011

Facebook partners up with Skype to incorporate a video chat feature.

September 2011

Facebook introduces the new Timeline profile to developers, as well as the new Open Graph during the F8 Keynote.

April 2012

Facebook acquires popular photo sharing app Instagram for a whopping $1 billion.

May 2012

On May 18, 2012, Facebook became a public company, setting its share price at $38 per share, valuing the company at $104 billion.

January 2013

At the beginning of 2013, Facebook announced its new Graph Search feature -- a search engine to help you find out more about what your friends like, what they do, where they've been and more

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