As the social media giant completes 15 years of its existence, Team aReputation reviews how Facebook has grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
When Mark Zuckerberg and his college friends decided to launch Facebook 15 years ago, the bunch of Harvard University students brought about a fundamental change in the way internet worked.
Initially named TheFacebook (after the directories of students given to American university attendees), the social network now boasts of over 1.52 billion daily users, with 2.32 billion people logging in monthly to share images, videos and check status updates.
Team aReputation brings you a comprehensive guide to the changes and growth Facebook has underwent over the years. Take a look:
Mark Zuckerberg, along with his friends Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, started Facebook when he was a student at Harvard. The idea behind developing the platform was to create a paper guide of images and information about other students.
The access to the site, which went live on February 4, 2004, was limited only to students at Harvard. However, the growing popularity of the platform drove the creators to extend the access to other university students across the US and Canada.
Soon afterwards, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to move to Palo Alto, California, for working on Facebook full time.
One of the major features of Facebook, the timeline has been copied by several other social platforms since its introduction.
The first iteration of the timeline was the 2006 ‘News Feed’, personalized for each user. It showed highlights from their friends and other pages they followed, such as posts, photos, and birthdays.
The platform introduced the timeline, a chronological feed for an individual user, in 2011. While this was more like a profile page than the news feed, the latest iteration featured status updates, photos and more from that individual user.
In 2016, Facebook expanded its spectrum of public approval or disapproval by rolling out ‘Reactions’. This feature offered people to choose their reaction to a post from ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘haha’, ‘sad’, ‘angry’, and ‘wow’.
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion (£629 million), and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion (£14.6 billion). Although Facebook had earlier said it would not automatically match user accounts on Facebook and WhatsApp, it yet proceeded to do so in 2016.
In 2008, Facebook launched an instant messaging function, Facebook Chat. The success of this feature drove the social media giant to roll it out as a separate platform, named Facebook Messenger, in 2011.
Rumors have emerged of late that Facebook is planning to integrate the messaging aspects of its separate apps, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. This means that while the apps will continue to function on their own, the users would be allowed to send encrypted messages directly to people on different platforms, i.e someone on WhatsApp could message someone on Instagram without having to change apps.
Despite the issues the platform has faced, it is constantly growing, with over 2.2 billion monthly users on Facebook. Billions of people (yes, billions) around the world use Facebook for news, catching up with friends and family, sharing photos, and chatting online.
Despite the controversies that have surrounded it, Facebook remains standing tall, with a huge loyal user base and little competition from others. Being the leader in social media, the company will face some major issues such as freedom of speech versus censorship. However, knowing its strengths and weaknesses will make Facebook stronger as it ventures further into the uncharted land of a social media society.