Facebook

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Facebook, Inc.
Facebook Logo (2015) light.svg
The company wordmark
Facebook user page (2019).png
Mark Zuckerberg's profile (viewed from the login page)
Type of business Public
Type of site
Social networking service, publisher [1]
Available in Multilingual (140)
Traded as
FoundedFebruary 4, 2004;15 years ago (2004-02-04) in Cambridge, Massachusetts [2]
Headquarters
1 Hacker Way
(aka 1601 Willow Road)
Menlo Park, California
,
U.S.
Coordinates 37°29′05″N122°08′54″W / 37.4848°N 122.1484°W / 37.4848; -122.1484 Coordinates: 37°29′05″N122°08′54″W / 37.4848°N 122.1484°W / 37.4848; -122.1484
Area servedUnited States (2004–present)
Worldwide, except blocking countries (2005–present)
Founder(s)
Key people
Industry
Products Messenger
Watch
Portal
Revenue Increase2.svg US$ 55.838 billion (2018) [4]
Operating income Increase2.svg US$ 24.913 billion (2018) [4]
Net income Increase2.svg US$ 22.111 billion (2018) [4]
Total assets Increase2.svg US$ 97.334 billion (2018) [5]
Total equity Increase2.svg US$ 84.127 billion (2018) [5]
Employees30,275 (June 30, 2018) [6]
Subsidiaries
Website
Alexa rankSteady2.svg 3 (February 2019) [7]
RegistrationRequired
Users Increase2.svg 2.3 billion monthly active users (December 2018)
Current statusActive
Written in C++, PHP (as HHVM), [8] D [9]
The "f" logo for its online platform. Facebook f logo (2019).svg
The "f" logo for its online platform.

Facebook, 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. [10] [11]

Social media Internet services for sharing personal information and ideas

Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features:

  1. Social media are interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications.
  2. User-generated content, such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions, is the lifeblood of social media.
  3. Users create service-specific profiles for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization.
  4. Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user's profile with those of other individuals or groups.

A social networking service is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationship with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections.

Menlo Park, California City in California, United States

Menlo Park is a city at the eastern edge of San Mateo County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the United States. It is bordered by San Francisco Bay on the north and east; East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Stanford to the south; Atherton, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City to the west. Menlo Park is one of the most educated cities in the state of California and the United States; nearly 70% of residents over the age of 25 has earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Menlo Park had 32,026 inhabitants according to the 2010 United States Census, which had grown to an estimated 34,357 inhabitants by 2017.

Contents

The founders initially limited the website's membership to Harvard students and subsequently Columbia, Stanford, and Yale students. Membership was eventually expanded to the remaining Ivy League schools, MIT, and higher education institutions in the Boston area, then various other universities, and lastly high school students. Since 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though this may vary depending on local laws. The name comes from the face book directories often given to American university students. Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company. Facebook makes most of its revenue from advertisements that appear onscreen and in users' News Feeds.

Columbia University Private Ivy League research university in New York City

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.

Stanford University Private research university in Stanford, California

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

The Facebook service can be accessed from devices with Internet connectivity, such as personal computers, tablets and smartphones. After registering, users can create a customized profile revealing information about themselves. They can post text, photos and multimedia which is shared with any other users that have agreed to be their "friend". Users can also use various embedded apps, join common-interest groups, and receive notifications of their friends' activities. Facebook claimed that had more than 2.3 billion monthly active users as of December 2018. [12] However, it faces a big problem of fake accounts. It caught 3 billion fake accounts, but the ones it misses are the real problem. [13] Many critics questioned whether Facebook knows how many actual users it has. [14] [15] [16] Facebook is one of the world's most valuable companies.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Personal computer Computer intended for use by an individual person

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.

Tablet computer mobile computer with display, circuitry and battery in a single unit

A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a mobile device, typically with a mobile operating system and touchscreen display processing circuitry, and a rechargeable battery in a single thin, flat package. Tablets, being computers, do what other personal computers do, but lack some input/output (I/O) abilities that others have. Modern tablets largely resemble modern smartphones, the only differences being that tablets are relatively larger than smartphones, with screens 7 inches (18 cm) or larger, measured diagonally, and may not support access to a cellular network.

It receives prominent media coverage, including many controversies. These often involve user privacy (as with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal), political manipulation (as with the 2016 U.S. elections), psychological effects such as addiction and low self-esteem, and content that some users find objectionable, including fake news, conspiracy theories, and copyright infringement. [17] Facebook also does not remove false information from its pages, which brings continuous controversies. [18] The commentators stated that Facebook helps to spread false information and fake news. [19] [20] [21] [22]

Internet privacy right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via of the Internet; a subset of data privacy

Internet privacy involves the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Internet privacy is a subset of data privacy. Privacy concerns have been articulated from the beginnings of large-scale computer sharing.

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal was a major political scandal in early 2018 when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of people's Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political advertising purposes. It has been described as a watershed moment in the public understanding of personal data and precipitated a massive fall in Facebook's stock price and calls for tighter regulation of tech companies' use of data.

Social media addiction

Social media addiction is a proposed diagnosis related to overuse of social media, similar to Internet addiction and other forms of digital media overuse.

Facebook offers other products and services. It acquired Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and GrokStyle [23] and independently developed Facebook Messenger, Facebook Watch, and Facebook Portal.

Instagram Online photo-sharing and social networking service

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 exclusively on iOS. A version for Android devices was released a year and half later, in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited website interface in November 2012, and apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 in April 2016 and October 2016 respectively.

WhatsApp Facebook-owned mobile instant messenger and social media service

WhatsApp Messenger is a freeware, cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) service owned by Facebook. It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media. WhatsApp's client application runs on mobile devices, but is also accessible from Windows and Mac desktop computers, as long as the user's mobile device remains connected to the Internet they use the desktop app. The service requires users to provide a standard cellular mobile number. Users could originally communicate only with individuals or informal groups on WhatsApp, but in January 2018, WhatsApp released a standalone business app targeted at small business owners, called WhatsApp Business, to allow companies to communicate with customers who use the standard WhatsApp client.

Oculus VR American virtual reality technology company

Facebook Technologies, LLC, doing business as Oculus, is an American technology company founded by Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Michael Antonov, Jack McCauley and Nate Mitchell in July 2012 in Irvine, California, now based in Menlo Park. It specializes in virtual reality hardware and software products.

History

2003–2006: Thefacebook, Thiel investment, and name change

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". [24] Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours. [25] The site was sent to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged with breaching security, violating copyrights and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped. [24] Zuckerberg expanded on this project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam. He uploaded all art images to a website, each of which was accompanied by a comments section, then shared the site with his classmates. [26]

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. The university is often cited as the world's top tertiary institution by most publishers.

Hot or Not is a rating site that allows users to rate the attractiveness of photos submitted voluntarily by others. The site offers a matchmaking engine called 'Meet Me' and an extended profile feature called "Hotlists". The domain hotornot.com is currently owned by Hot Or Not Limited, and was previously owned by Avid Life Media. 'Hot or Not' was a significant influence on the people who went on to create the social media sites Facebook and YouTube.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property that grants the creator of an original creative work an exclusive legal right to determine whether and under what conditions this original work may be copied and used by others, usually for a limited term of years. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.

Original layout and name of Thefacebook, 2004 Thefacebook.png
Original layout and name of Thefacebook, 2004

A "face book" is a student directory featuring photos and personal information. [25] In 2003, Harvard had only a paper version [27] along with private online directories. [24] [28] 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." [28] 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. [29] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "TheFacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com. [30]

Six days after the site launched, Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com. They claimed that he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product. [31] The three complained to the Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. They later sued Zuckerberg, settling in 2008 [32] for 1.2 million shares (worth $300 million at Facebook's IPO). [33]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College. Within a month, more than half the undergraduates had registered. [34] Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help manage the growth of the website. [35] In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Columbia, Stanford and Yale. [36] and then to all Ivy League colleges, Boston University, New York University, MIT, and successively most universities in the United States and Canada. [37] [38]

In mid-2004, Napster co-founder and entrepreneur Sean Parker—an informal advisor to Zuckerberg—became company president. [39] In June 2004, the company moved to Palo Alto, California. [40] It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. [41] In 2005, the company dropped "the" from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com for US$200,000. [42] The domain had belonged to AboutFace Corporation.

Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook, in his Harvard dorm room, 2005 MarkZuckerberg-crop.jpg
Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook, in his Harvard dorm room, 2005

In May 2005, Accel Partners invested $12.7 million in Facebook, and Jim Breyer [43] added $1 million of his own money. A high-school version of the site launched in September 2005. [44] Eligibility expanded to include employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. [45]

2006–2012: Public access, Microsoft alliance, and rapid growth

On September 26, 2006, Facebook opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address. [46] [47] [48] By late 2007, Facebook had 100,000 pages on which companies promoted themselves. [49] Organization pages began rolling out in May 2009. [50] 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. [51] [52]

In October 2008, Facebook announced that its international headquarters would locate in Dublin, Ireland. [53] In September 2009, Facebook said that it had achieved positive cash flow for the first time. [54] A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users. [55]

The company announced 500 million users in July 2010. [56] Half of the site's membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site from mobile devices. A company representative called the milestone a "quiet revolution." [57] 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. [58] [59]

On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced it had acquired the domain name fb.com from the American Farm Bureau Federation for an undisclosed amount. On January 11, 2011, the Farm Bureau disclosed $8.5 million in "domain sales income", making the acquisition of FB.com one of the ten highest domain sales in history. [60]

In February 2011, Facebook announced plans to move its headquarters to the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California. [61] [62] In March 2011, it was reported that Facebook was removing about 20,000 profiles daily for violations such as spam, graphic content and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber security. [63] Statistics showed that Facebook reached one trillion page views in the month of June 2011, making it the most visited website tracked by DoubleClick. [64] [65] According to a Nielsen study, Facebook had in 2011 become the second-most accessed website in the U.S. behind Google. [66] [67]

China blocked Facebook in 2009. [68]

2012–2013: IPO, lawsuits, and one-billionth user

In March 2012, Facebook announced App Center, a store selling applications that operate via the website. The store was to be available on iPhones, Android devices, and mobile web users. [69] In April 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock.

Facebook's initial public offering came on May 17, 2012, at a share price of US$38. The company was valued at $104 billion, the largest valuation to that date. [70] [71] [72] The IPO raised $16 billion, the third-largest in U.S. history, after Visa Inc. in 2008 and AT&T Wireless in 2000. [73] [74] Based on its 2012 income of $5 billion, Facebook joined the Fortune 500 list for the first time in May 2013, ranked 462. [75] The shares set a first day record for trading volume of an IPO (460 million shares). [76] The IPO was controversial given the immediate price declines that followed. [77] [78] [79] [77] [80] and was the subject of lawsuits, [81] while SEC and FINRA both launched investigations. [82]

Billboard on the Thomson Reuters building welcomes Facebook to NASDAQ, 2012 Facebook on Nasdaq.jpeg
Billboard on the Thomson Reuters building welcomes Facebook to NASDAQ, 2012

Zuckerberg announced at the start of October 2012 that Facebook had one billion monthly active users, [83] including 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads and 140 billion friend connections. [84]

2013–2014: Site developments, A4AI, and 10th anniversary

On January 15, 2013, Facebook announced Facebook Graph Search, which provides users with a "precise answer", rather than a link to an answer by leveraging data present on its site. [85] Facebook emphasized that the feature would be "privacy-aware", returning results only from content already shared with the user. [86] On April 3, 2013, Facebook unveiled Facebook Home, a user-interface layer for Android devices offering greater integration with the site. HTC announced HTC First, a phone with Home pre-loaded. [87]

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. [88] On April 19 Facebook modified its logo to remove the faint blue line at the bottom of the "F" icon. The letter F moved closer to the edge of the box. [89]

Following a campaign by 100 advocacy groups, Facebook agreed to update its policy on hate speech. The campaign highlighted content promoting domestic violence and sexual violence against women and led 15 advertisers to withdrawal, including Nissan UK, House of Burlesque and Nationwide UK. The company initially stated, "while it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies". [90] It took action on May 29. [91]

On June 12, Facebook announced that it was introducing clickable hashtags to help users follow trending discussions, or search what others are talking about on a topic. [92] San Mateo County, California, became the top wage-earning county in the country after the fourth quarter of 2012 because of Facebook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary was 107% higher than the previous year, at $168,000 a year, more than 50% higher than the next-highest county, New York County (better known as Manhattan), at roughly $110,000 a year. [93]

Facebook joined Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in October, as it launched. The A4AI is a coalition of public and private organizations that includes Google, Intel and Microsoft. Led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the A4AI seeks to make Internet access more affordable to ease access in the developing world. [94] On October 13, Facebook acquired Onavo, an Israeli mobile web analytics company. [95] [96] Standard & Poor's added Facebook to its S&P 500 index on December 21. [97]

In February 2014, Facebook announced that it would be buying mobile messaging company WhatsApp for US$19 billion in cash and stock. [98] [99]

In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2.3 billion in stock and cash, which released its first consumer virtual reality headset in 2016. Oculus-Rift-CV1-Headset-Front.jpg
In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2.3 billion in stock and cash, which released its first consumer virtual reality headset in 2016.

The company celebrated its 10th anniversary during the week of February 3, 2014. [101] In January 2014, over one billion users connected via a mobile device. [102] As of June, mobile accounted for 62% of advertising revenue, an increase of 21% from the previous year. [103] By September Facebook's market capitalization had exceeded $200 billion. [104] [105] [106]

Zuckerberg participated in a Q&A session at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on October 23, where he attempted to converse in Mandarin. Zuckerberg hosted visiting Chinese politician Lu Wei, known as the "Internet czar" for his influence in China's online policy, in December 8.

2015–present: Fake news, vaccine hesitancy, and Christchurch shooting

As of January 21,2015, Facebook's algorithm was revised in an attempt to filter out false or misleading content, such as fake news stories and hoaxes. It relied on users who flag a story accordingly. Facebook maintained that satirical content should not be intercepted. [107] The algorithm was accused of maintaining a "filter bubble", where material the user disagrees with [108] and posts with few likes would be deprioritized. [109] In November, Facebook extended paternity leave from 4 weeks to 4 months. [110]

On April 12, 2016, Zuckerberg outlined his 10 year vision, which rested on three main pillars: artificial intelligence, increased global connectivity and virtual/augmented reality. [111] In June, Facebook announced Deep Text, a natural language processing AI that learns user intent and context in 20 languages. [112] In July, a US$1 billion suit was filed against the company alleging that it permitted Hamas to use it to perform assaults that cost the lives of four people. [113] Facebook released its blueprints of Surround 360 camera on GitHub under an open-source license. [114] In September, it won an Emmy for its animated short "Henry". [115] 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. [116]

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. [117]

On January 17, 2017, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg planned to open Station F, a startup incubator campus in Paris, France. [118] On a six-month cycle, Facebook committed to work with ten to 15 data-driven startups there. [119] On April 18, Facebook announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces at its annual F8 developer conference. [120] Facebook Spaces is a virtual reality version of Facebook for Oculus VR goggles. In a virtual and shared space, users can access a curated selection of 360-degree photos and videos using their avatar, with the support of the controller. Users can access their own photos and videos, along with media shared on their newsfeed. [121] In September, Facebook announced it would spend up to US$1 billion on original shows for its Facebook Watch platform. [122] On October 16, it acquired the anonymous compliment app tbh, announcing its intention to leave the app independent. [123] [124] [125] [126]

In May 2018 at F8, the company announced it would offer its own dating service. Shares in competitor Match Group fell by 22%. [127] Facebook Dating includes privacy features and friends will be unable to view their friends' dating profile. [128] In July, Facebook was charged £500,000 by UK watchdogs for failing to respond to data erasure requests. [129] 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. [130] 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. [131] 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. [132] [133] On July 31, Facebook said that the company had deleted 17 accounts related to the 2018 American elections. 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. [134] Through the Digital Forensic Research Lab Facebook partners with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-affiliated think tank. [134] 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. [135] [136]

In January 2019, the 10 year challenge was started [137] asking users to post a photograph of themselves from 10 years ago (2009) and a more recent photo. [138]

Criticized for its role in vaccine hesitancy, Facebook announced in March 2019 that it would provide users with "authoritative information" on the topic of vaccines. [139]

On March 14, Huffington Post reported that Facebook’s PR agency had paid someone to tweak Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Wikipedia page, as well as adding a page for the global head of PR, Caryn Marooney. [140]

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. Facebook has promised changes to its platform; spokesman Simon Dilner told Radio New Zealand that it could have done a better job. Several companies, including the ANZ and ASB banks, have stopped advertising on Facebook after the company was widely condemned by the public. [141] Following the attack, Facebook began blocking white nationalist, white supremacist, and white separatist content, saying that they could not be meaningfully separated. Previously, Facebook had only blocked overtly supremacist content. The older policy had been condemned by civil rights groups, who described these movements as functionally indistinct. [142] [143] Further bans were made in mid-April 2019, banning several British far-right organizations and associated individuals from Facebook, and also banning praise or support for them. [144] [145]

In early-April 2019, Facebook announced that it would be pulling its apps from Windows Phone on April 30, 2019, including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. [146]

NTJ's member Moulavi Zahran Hashim, a radical Islamist imam believed to be the mastermind behind the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings, preached on a pro-ISIL Facebook account, known as "Al-Ghuraba" media. [147] [148]

In May 2019, Facebook founded Libra Networks, reportedly in order to develop their own stablecoin cryptocurrency. [149] 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 [150] .

On May 2, 2019 at F8, the company announced its new vision with the tagline "the future is private". [151] A redesign of the website and mobile app was introduced, dubbed as "FB5". [152] The event also featured plans for improving groups, [153] a dating platform, [154] end-to-end encryption on its platforms, [155] and allowing users on Messenger to communicate directly with WhatsApp and Instagram users. [156] [157]

Corporate affairs

Management

Facebook's key management personnel consists of; [158]

As of December 31,2018, Facebook had 35,587 employees. [159]

Board of directors

In April 2019, Facebook nominated Peggy Alford to be added as a board member during the May 2019 AGM. If this happens, she will become the first African-American woman to serve in this board, and the second African-American ever to do so. [160] As of April 2019, Facebook's board consists of the following directors; [158]

Revenue

Revenues
(in millions US$)
YearRevenueGrowth
2004$0.4 [161]
2005$9 [161] 2150%
2006$48 [161] 433%
2007$153 [161] 219%
2008$280 [162] 83%
2009$775 [163] 177%
2010$2,000 [164] 158%
2011$3,711 [165] 86%
2012$5,089 [166] 37%
2013$7,872 [166] 55%
2014$12,466 [167] 58%
2015$17,928 [168] 44%
2016$27,638 [169] 54%
2017$40,653 [170] 47%
2018$55,013 [171] 38%

Facebook ranked No. 76 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue. [172] Most comes from advertising. [173] [174]

Significant revenue comes from bulk data access sold to the third parties. [175] [176]

Chart of Facebook's stock Chart of Facebook, inc. Stock.png
Chart of Facebook's stock

Number of advertisers

In February 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached two million active advertisers with most of the gain coming from small businesses. An active advertiser is an advertiser that has advertised on the Facebook platform in the last 28 days. [177] In March 2016, Facebook announced that it reached three million active advertisers with more than 70% from outside the US. [178] Prices for advertising follow a variable pricing model based on ad auction bids, potential engagement levels of the advertisement itself. Similar to other onlien advertising platforms like google and twitter, targeting of advertisements is one of the chief merits of advertising visa a vis traditional mass advertising modes like television and print. Marketing on facebook is employed through two methods based on the surfing habits, likes and shares, and purchasing data of the audience, namely targeted audiences and "look alike" audiences. [179]

Mergers and acquisitions

Facebook's major acquisitions include Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus Rift.

Offices

Users outside of the US and Canada contract with Facebook's Irish subsidiary "Facebook Ireland Limited". This allows Facebook to avoid US taxes for all users in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. Facebook is making use of the Double Irish arrangement which allows it to pay just about 2–3% corporation tax on all international revenue. [180] In 2010, Facebook opened its fourth office, in Hyderabad [181] [182] [183] and the first in Asia. [184]

Facebook's Hyderabad center houses online advertising and developer support teams and provide support to users and advertisers. [185] In India Facebook is registered as 'Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd'. [186] [187] [188] It also has support centers in Dublin, California, Ireland and Austin, Texas. [189]

Facebook opened its London headquarters in 2017 in Fitzrovia in central London. Facebook opened an office in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2018. The offices were initially home to Facebook's "Connectivity Lab", a group focused on bringing Internet access those who do not have access to the Internet. [190]

Data centers

As of 2019 the company operated 15 data center locations. Facebook committed to purchase 100 percent renewable energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2020. Data center technologies include Fabric Aggregator, a distributed network system that accommodates larger regions and varied traffic patterns. [191]

The StatePoint Liquid Cooling (SPLC) system is an evaporative cooling system that uses water to drive cooling. [191]

Tax affairs

The US IRS challenged the valuation Facebook used when it transferred IP from the US to Facebook Ireland in 2010 (which Facebook Ireland then revalued higher before charging out), as it was building its double Irish tax structure. [192] [193] The case is ongoing and Facebook faces a potential fine of $3–5bn. [194]

The US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed Facebook's global tax calculations. Facebook Ireland is subject to the US GILTI tax of 10.5% on global intangible profits (i.e. Irish profits). On the basis that Facebook Ireland is paying some tax, the effective minimum US tax for Facebook Ireland will be circa 11%. In contrast, Facebook Inc. would incur a special IP tax rate of 13.125% (the FDII rate) if its Irish business relocated to the US. Tax relief in the US (21% vs. Irish at the GILTI rate) and accelerated capital expensing, would make this effective US rate around 12%. [195] [196] [197]

The insignificance of the US/Irish tax difference was demonstrated when Facebook moved 1.5bn non-EU accounts to the US to limit exposure to GDPR. [198] [199]

Website

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005 Original-facebook.jpg
Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005
Previous Facebook logo in use from August 23, 2005 until July 1, 2015 Facebook.svg
Previous Facebook logo in use from August 23, 2005 until July 1, 2015

Technical aspects

The website's primary color is blue as Zuckerberg is red–green colorblind, a realization that occurred after a test undertaken around 2007 [200] [201] Facebook is built in PHP, compiled with HipHop for PHP, a "source code transformer" built by Facebook engineers that turns PHP into C++. [202] The deployment of HipHop reportedly reduced average CPU consumption on Facebook servers by 50%. [203]

2012 architecture

Facebook is developed as one monolithic application. According to an interview in 2012 with Chuck Rossi, a build engineer at Facebook, Facebook compiles into a 1.5 GB binary blob which is then distributed to the servers using a custom BitTorrent-based release system. Rossi stated that it takes about 15 minutes to build and 15 minutes to release to the servers. The build and release process has zero downtime. Changes to Facebook are rolled out daily. [203]

Facebook used a combination platform based on HBase to store data across distributed machines. Using a tailing architecture, events are stored in log files, and the logs are tailed. The system rolls these events up and writes them to storage. The user interface then pulls the data out and displays it to users. Facebook handles requests as AJAX behavior. These requests are written to a log file using Scribe (developed by Facebook). [204]

Data is read from these log files using Ptail, an internally built tool to aggregate data from multiple Scribe stores. It tails the log files and pulls data out. Ptail data are separated into three streams and sent to clusters in different data centers (Plugin impression, News feed impressions, Actions (plugin + news feed)). Puma is used to manage periods of high data flow (Input/Output or IO). Data is processed in batches to lessen the number of times needed to read and write under high demand periods (A hot article generates many impressions and news feed impressions that cause huge data skews). Batches are taken every 1.5 seconds, limited by memory used when creating a hash table. [204]

Data is then output in PHP format. The backend is written in Java. Thrift is used as the messaging format so PHP programs can query Java services. Caching solutions display pages more quickly. The data is then sent to MapReduce servers where it is queried via Hive. This serves as a backup as the data can be recovered from Hive. [204]

Hack

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. [205]

Facebook uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to deliver the enormous volume of emails it sends to its users every day. [206]

History

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. [207] Facebook began migrating users to the new version in September 2008. [208]

User profile/personal timeline

Facebook login/signup screen Facebook (login, signup page).jpg
Facebook login/signup screen

Each registered user on Facebook has a personal profile that shows their posts and content. [209] The format of individual user pages was revamped in September 2011 and became known as "Timeline", a chronological feed of a user's stories, [210] [211] including status updates, photos, interactions with apps and events. [212] The layout let users add a "cover photo". [212] Users were given more privacy settings. [212] In 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Pages for brands and celebrities to interact with their fanbase. [213] [214] 100,000 Pages launched in November. [215] In June 2009, Facebook introduced a "Usernames" feature, allowing users to choose a unique nickname used in the URL for their personal profile, for easier sharing. [216] [217]

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. [218] [219] [220] 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. [221] [222]

News Feed

News Feed appears on every user's homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events and friends' birthdays. [223] This enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause. [224] Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, others were concerned that it made it too easy for others to track individual activities (such as relationship status changes, events, and conversations with other users). [225] Zuckerberg apologized for the site's failure to include appropriate privacy features. Users then gained control over what types of information are shared automatically with friends. Users are now able to prevent user-set categories of friends from seeing updates about certain types of activities, including profile changes, Wall posts and newly added friends. [226]

On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted a patent [227] 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. [228] The sorting and display of stories in a user's News Feed is governed by the EdgeRank algorithm. [229]

The Photos application allows users to upload albums and photos. [230] Each album can contain 200 photos. [231] Privacy settings apply to individual albums. Users can "tag", or label, friends in a photo. The friend receives a notification about the tag with a link to the photo. [232]

On June 7, 2012, Facebook launched its App Center to help users find games and other applications. [233]

On May 13, 2015, Facebook in association with major news portals launched "Instant Articles" to provide news on the Facebook news feed without leaving the site. [234] [235]

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. [236]

On October 11, 2017, Facebook introduced the 3D Posts feature to allow for uploading interactive 3D assets. [237] On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced that it would change News Feed to prioritize friends/family content and de-emphasize content from media companies. [238]

Like button

The "like" button, stylized as a "thumbs up" icon, was first enabled on February 9, 2009, [239] and enables users to easily interact with status updates, comments, photos and videos, links shared by friends, and advertisements. Once clicked by a user, the designated content is more likely to appear in friends' News Feeds. [240] [241] The button displays the number of other users who have liked the content. [242] The like button was extended to comments in June 2010. [243] Facebook expanded Like into "Reactions", choosing among five pre-defined emotions, including "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Sad", or "Angry". [244] [245] [246] [247]

Instant messaging

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application. It began as Facebook Chat in 2008, [248] was revamped in 2010 [249] and eventually became a standalone mobile app in August 2011, while remaining part of the user page on browsers. [250]

Complementing regular conversations, Messenger lets users make one-to-one [251] and group [252] voice [253] and video calls. [254] Its Android app has integrated support for SMS [255] and "Chat Heads", which are round profile photo icons appearing on-screen regardless of what app is open, [256] while both apps support multiple accounts, [257] conversations with optional end-to-end encryption [258] and "Instant Games". [259] Some features, including sending money [260] and requesting transportation, [261] are limited to the United States. [260] 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; [262] Reactions, which lets users tap and hold a message to add a reaction through an emoji; [263] and Mentions, which lets users in group conversations type @ to give a particular user a notification. [263]

Businesses and users can interact through Messenger with features such as tracking purchases and receiving notifications, and interacting with customer service representatives. Third-party developers can integrate apps into Messenger, letting users enter an app while inside Messenger and optionally share details from the app into a chat. [264] Developers can build chatbots into Messenger, for uses such as news publishers building bots to distribute news. [265] The M virtual assistant (U.S.) scans chats for keywords and suggests relevant actions, such as its payments system for users mentioning money. [266] [267] Group chatbots appear in Messenger as "Chat Extensions". A "Discovery" tab allows finding bots, and enabling special, branded QR codes that, when scanned, take the user to a specific bot. [268]

Following

Users can "Follow" content posted by other users without needing to friend them. [269] Accounts can be "verified", confirming a user's identity. [270]

Privacy controls

PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Facebook and Yahoo!. Prism-slide-8.jpg
PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Facebook and Yahoo!.

Facebook enables users to control access to individual posts and their profile [272] through privacy settings. [273] The user's name and profile picture (if applicable) are public. Facebook's revenue depends on targeted advertising, which involves analyzing user data (from the site and the broader internet) to inform the targeting. These facilities have changed repeatedly since the service's debut, amid a series of controversies covering everything from how well it secures user data, to what extent it allows users to control access, to the kinds of access given to third parties, including businesses, political campaigns and governments. These facilities vary according to country, as some nations require the company to make data available (and limit access to services), while the European Union's GDPR regulation mandates additional privacy protections. [274]

Facebook Bug Bounty Program

A Facebook "White Hat" debit card, given to researchers who report security bugs. Facebook t-shirt with whitehat debit card for Hackers.jpg
A Facebook "White Hat" debit card, given to researchers who report security bugs.

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. [275] [276] This led researchers in many countries to participate, particularly in India and Russia. [277]

Reception

Most popular social networking sites by country in 2015
Facebook
Twitter
VKontakte
QZone
Odnoklassniki
Facenama
No Data Most popular social networking sites by country.svg
Most popular social networking sites by country in 2015
  Facebook
   Twitter
   VKontakte
   QZone
  Facenama
  No Data

User growth

Facebook's rapid growth began as soon as it became available and has continued through 2018.

Facebook passed 100 million registered users in 2008, [278] and 500 million in July 2010. [56] According to the company's data at the July 2010 announcement, half of the site's membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site by mobile. [57]

In October 2012 Facebook's monthly active users passed one billion, [83] [279] with 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections. [84] The 2 billion user mark was crossed in June 2017. [280] [281]

In November 2015, after skepticism about the accuracy of its "monthly active users" measurement, Facebook changed its definition to a logged-in member who visits the Facebook site through the web browser or mobile app, or uses the Facebook Messenger app, in the 30 day period prior to the measurement. This excluded the use of third-party services with Facebook integration, which was previously counted. [282]

Demographics

The highest number of Facebook users as of October 2018 are from India and the United States, followed by Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. [284] Region-wise, the highest number of users are from Asia-Pacific (947 million) followed by Europe (381 million) and US&Canada (242 million). The rest of the world have 750 million users. [285] Over the 2008-2018 period, the percentage of users under 34 declined to less than half of the total. [274]

Awards

The website has won awards such as placement into the "Top 100 Classic Websites" by PC Magazine in 2007, [286] and winning the "People's Voice Award" from the Webby Awards in 2008. [287]

In 2010, Facebook won the Crunchie "Best Overall Startup Or Product" award [288] for the third year in a row. [289]

Censorship

In many countries the social networking sites and mobile apps have been blocked temporarily or permanently, including China, [290] Iran, [291] Syria, [292] and North Korea. In May 2018, the government of Papua New Guinea announced that it would ban Facebook for a month while it considered the impact of the website on the country, though no ban has since occurred. [293]

Criticisms and controversies

Graffiti in Berlin of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The caption is a reference to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Mark Zuckerberg 1984 Berlin Graffiti.jpg
Graffiti in Berlin of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The caption is a reference to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four .

Facebook's importance and scale has led to criticisms in many domains. Notable issues include Internet privacy, excessive retention of user information, [294] its facial recognition software, [295] [296] its addictive quality [297] and its role in the workplace, including employer access to employee accounts. [298]

Facebook is alleged to have psychological effects, including feelings of jealousy [299] [300] and stress, [301] [302] a lack of attention [303] and social media addiction. [304] [305]

European antitrust regulator Margrethe Vestager stated that Facebook's terms of service relating to private data were "unbalanced". [306]

Facebook has been criticized for electricity usage, [307] tax avoidance, [308] real-name user requirement policies, [309] censorship [310] [311] and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program. [312]

Facebook has been criticized for allowing users to publish illegal and/or offensive material. Specifics include copyright and intellectual property infringement, [313] hate speech, [314] [315] incitement of rape [316] and terrorism, [317] [318] fake news, [319] [320] [321] and crimes, murders, and livestreaming violent incidents. [322] [323] [324]

According to The Express Tribune , Facebook "avoided billions of dollars in tax using offshore companies". [325]

Sri Lanka blocks social media Facebook & Whatsapp after worst anti-Muslim violence since Easter Sunday attacks. Social media blocked again as a temporary measure to maintain peace in Sri Lanka. [326] [327]

Facebook removed 3 billion fake accounts only during the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. [328] This is a wildly high number given that the social network reports only 2.39 billion monthly active users. [329]

Privacy

Facebook has faced a steady stream of controversies over how it protects user privacy, repeatedly adjusting its privacy settings and policies. [330]

In 2010, the US National Security Agency began taking publicly posted profile information from Facebook, among other social media services. [331]

On November 29, 2011, Facebook settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises. [332] In August 2013 High-Tech Bridge published a study showing that links included in Facebook messaging service messages were being accessed by Facebook. [333] In January 2014 two users filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that their privacy had been violated by this practice. [334]

On June 7, 2018 Facebook announced that a bug had resulted in about 14 million Facebook users having their default sharing setting for all new posts set to "public". [335]

On 4th 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. [336]

Shadow profiles

A "shadow profile" is data about a user other than the official profile or explicitly shared content. For example the "like" button that appears on third-party websites allows the company to collect information about the user's internet browsing. [337] [338] Such data includes information about non-users and location data from a user's phone. [339]

Cambridge Analytica

Facebook customer Global Science Research sold information on over 87 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm. [340] While approximately 270,000 people used the app, Facebook's API permitted data collection from their friends without their knowledge. [341] At first Facebook downplayed the significance of the breach, and suggested that Cambridge Analytica no longer had access. Facebook then issued a statement expressing alarm and suspended Cambridge Analytica. Review of documents and interviews with former Facebook employees suggested that Cambridge Analytica still possessed the data. [342] This was a violation of Facebook's consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. This violation potentially carried a penalty of $40,000 per occurrence, totaling trillions of dollars. [343]

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. [344]

On March 25, Facebook published a statement by Zuckerberg in major UK and US newspapers apologizing over a "breach of trust". [345]

You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014. This was a breach of trust, and I'm sorry we didn't do more at the time. We're now taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again.

We've already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we're limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.

We're also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.

Finally, we'll remind you which apps you've give access to your information – so you can shut off the ones you don't want anymore.

Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.

On March 26, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into the matter. [346] The controversy led Facebook to end its partnerships with data brokers who aid advertisers in targeting users. [330]

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. [347]

Facebook also implemented additional privacy controls and settings [348] in part to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May. [349] Facebook also ended its active opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act. [350] .

Some, such as Meghan McCain have drawn an equivalence between the use of data by Cambridge Analytica and the Barack Obama's 2012 campaign, which, according to Investor's Business Daily , "encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends." [351] [352] [353] Carol Davidsen, the Obama for America (OFA) former director of integration and media analytics, wrote that "Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn't stop us once they realised that was what we were doing." [354] [355] PolitiFact has rated McCain's statements "Half-True", on the basis that "in Obama’s case, direct users knew they were handing over their data to a political campaign" whereas with Cambridge Analytica, users thought they were only taking a personality quiz for academic purposes, and while the Obama campaign only used the data "to have their supporters contact their most persuadable friends", Cambridge Analytica "targeted users, friends and lookalikes directly with digital ads." [356]

Breaches

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. [357] Facebook notified users affected by the exploit and logged them out of their accounts. [358] [359]

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. [360]

Phone data and activity

Facebook used the Onavo Protect virtual private network (VPN) app to collect information on users' web traffic and app usage. This allowed Facebook to monitor its competitors' performance. [361] [362] [363] Media outlets classified Onavo Protect as spyware. [364] [365] [366] In August 2018, Facebook removed the app in response to pressure from Apple, who asserted that it violated their guidelines. [367] [368]

In 2016, Facebook Research launched Project Atlas, offering some users between the ages of 13 and 35 up to $20 per month in exchange for their personal data, including their app usage, web browsing history, web search history, location history, personal messages, photos, videos, emails and Amazon order history. [369] [370] In January 2019, TechCrunch reported on the project. This led Apple to temporarily revoke Facebook's Enterprise Developer Program certificates for one day, preventing Facebook Research from operating on iOS devices and disabling Facebook's internal iOS apps. [370] [371] [372]

Ars Technica reported in April 2018 that the Facebook Android app had been harvesting user data, including phone calls and text messages, since 2015. [373] [374] [375] In May 2018, several Android users filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook for invading their privacy. [376] [377]

Public apologies

The company first apologized for its privacy abuses in 2009. [378]

Facebook apologies have appeared in newspapers, television, blog posts and on Facebook. [379] On March 25, 2018, leading US and UK newspapers published full-page ads with a personal apology from Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg issued a verbal apology on CNN. [380] In May 2010, he apologized for discrepancies in privacy settings. [379]

Previously, Facebook had its privacy settings spread out over 20 pages, and has now put all of its privacy settings on one page, which makes it harder for third-party apps to access the user's personal information. [330] In addition to publicly apologizing, Facebook has said that it will be reviewing and auditing thousands of apps that display "suspicious activities" in an effort to ensure that this breach of privacy does not happen again. [381] In a 2010 report regarding privacy, a research project stated that not a lot of information is available regarding the consequences of what people disclose online so often what is available are just reports made available through popular media. [382] In 2017, a former Facebook executive went on the record to discuss how social media platforms have contributed to the unraveling of the "fabric of society". [383]

Content

Facebook relies on its users to generate the content that bonds its users to the service. The company has come under criticism both for allowing objectionable content, including conspiracy theories and fringe discourse, [384] and for prohibiting other content that it deems inappropriate.

It has been criticised a vector for 'fake news', and has been accused of bearing responsibility for the conspiracy theory that the United States created ISIS, [385] false anti-Rohingya posts being used by Myanmar's military to fuel genocide and ethnic cleansing, [386] [387] enabling Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theorists, [388] and anti-refugee attacks in Germany. [389] [390] [391] The government of the Philippines has also used Facebook as a tool to attack its critics. [392]

Professor Ilya Somin reported that he had been the subject of death threats on Facebook in April 2018 from Cesar Sayoc, who threatened to kill Somin and his family and "feed the bodies to Florida alligators". Somin's Facebook friends reported the comments to Facebook, which did nothing except dispatch automated messages. [393] Sayoc was later arrested for the October United States mail bombing attempts directed at Democratic politicians.

Facebook has repeatedly amended its content policies. In July 2018, it stated that it would "downrank" articles that its fact-checkers determined to be false, and remove misinformation that incited violence. [394] Zuckerberg once stated that it was unclear whether Holocaust deniers on Facebook intended to deceive others, [395] for which he later apologized. [396] Facebook stated that content that receives "false" ratings from its fact-checkers can be demonetized and suffer dramatically reduced distribution. Specific posts and videos that violate community standards can be removed on Facebook. [395]

In May 2019, Facebook banned a number of "dangerous" commentators from its platform, including Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Paul Nehlen, David Duke, and Laura Loomer, for allegedly engaging in "violence and hate". [397] [398]

Infowars

Facebook was criticized for allowing InfoWars to publish falsehoods and conspiracy theories. [399] [395] [396] [400] [401] Facebook defended its actions in regards to InfoWars, saying "we just don't think banning Pages for sharing conspiracy theories or false news is the right way to go." [399] Facebook provided only six cases in which it fact-checked content on the InfoWars page over the period September 2017 to July 2018. [395] In 2018 InfoWars falsely claimed that the survivors of the Parkland shooting were "actors". Facebook pledged to remove InfoWars content making the claim, although InfoWars videos pushing the false claims were left up, even though Facebook had been contacted about the videos. [395] Facebook stated that the videos never explicitly called them actors. [395] Facebook also allowed InfoWars videos that shared the Pizzagate conspiracy theory to survive, despite specific assertions that it would purge Pizzagate content. [395] In late July 2018 Facebook suspended the personal profile of InfoWars head Alex Jones for 30 days. [402] In early August 2018, Facebook banned the four most active Infowars-related pages for hate speech. [403]

Political manipulation

In 2018, Facebook stated that, that year, they had identified "coordinated inauthentic behavior" in "many Pages, Groups and accounts created to stir up political debate, including in the US, the Middle East, Russia and the UK." [404]

Campaigns operated by the British intelligence agency unit, called Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, have broadly fallen into two categories; cyber attacks and propaganda efforts. The propaganda efforts utilize "mass messaging" and the "pushing [of] stories" via social media sites like Facebook. [405] [406] Israel's Jewish Internet Defense Force, China's 50 Cent Party and Turkey's AK Trolls also focus their attention on social media platforms like Facebook. [407] [408] [409] [410]

In July 2018, Samantha Bradshaw, co-author of the report from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) at Oxford University, said that "The number of countries where formally organised social media manipulation occurs has greatly increased, from 28 to 48 countries globally. The majority of growth comes from political parties who spread disinformation and junk news around election periods." [411]

In October 2018, The Daily Telegraph reported that Facebook "banned hundreds of pages and accounts that it says were fraudulently flooding its site with partisan political content – although they came from the US instead of being associated with Russia." [412]

In January 2019, Facebook said it has removed 783 Iran-linked accounts, pages and groups for engaging in what it called "coordinated inauthentic behaviour". [413]

Archimedes Group is a Tel Aviv-based private intelligence agency that has operates political campaigns using social media since 2017. [414] [415] [416] [417] In 2019 it was banned from Facebook for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” after Facebook found fake users in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. [418] Facebook investigations revealed that Archimedes had spent some $1.1 million on fake ads, paid for in Brazilian reais, Israeli shekels and US dollars. [419] Facebook gave examples of Archimedes Group political interference. [420] The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab said in a report that "The tactics employed by Archimedes Group, a private company, closely resemble the types of information warfare tactics often used by governments, and the Kremlin in particular." [421] [422]

Russian interference

In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for "engaging in operations to interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes, including the 2016 presidential election." [423] [424] [425]

Mueller contacted Facebook subsequently to the company's disclosure that it had sold more than $100,000 worth of ads to a company (Internet Research Agency) with links to the Russian intelligence community before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [426] [427] In September 2017, Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos wrote the company "found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia." [428] Clinton and Trump campaigns spent $81 million on Facebook ads. [429]

The company pledged full cooperation in Mueller's investigation, and provided all information about the Russian advertisements, including the identities of the individuals and companies who made the purchases. [430] Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have claimed that Facebook had withheld information that could illuminate the Russian propaganda campaign. [431] Russian operatives have used Facebook to organize Black Lives Matter rallies [432] [433] and anti-immigrant rallies on U.S. soil, [434] as well as anti-Clinton rallies [435] and rallies both for and against Donald Trump. [436] [437] Facebook ads have also been used to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims by simultaneously sending contrary messages to different users based on their political and demographic characteristics in order to sow discord. [438] [439] In some cases, real people have been impersonated to these ends. [440] Zuckerberg has stated that he regrets having dismissed concerns over Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [441]

Russian-American Billionaire Yuri Milner, who befriended Zuckerberg [442] between 2009 and 2011 had Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter. [443]

In January 2019, Facebook removed 289 Pages and 75 coordinated accounts linked to the Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik which had misrepresented themselves as independent news or general interest Pages. [444] [445] In total, these accounts had around 790,000 followers and had spent around $135,000 on advertising between October 2013 and January 2019. Facebook later identified and removed an additional 1,907 accounts linked to Russia found to be engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour". [446] In 2018, a UK DCMS select committee report had criticised Facebook for its reluctance to investigate abuse of its platform by the Russian government, and for downplaying the extent of the problem. [447] [448]

In February 2019, Glenn Greenwald wrote that a cybersecurity company New Knowledge, which is behind one of the Senate reports on Russian social media election interference, "was caught just six weeks ago engaging in a massive scam to create fictitious Russian troll accounts on Facebook and Twitter in order to claim that the Kremlin was working to defeat Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones in Alabama. The New York Times , when exposing the scam, quoted a New Knowledge report that boasted of its fabrications: “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the [Roy] Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.'" [449] [450]

Anti-Rohingya propaganda

In 2018, Facebook took down 536, Facebook Pages, 17 Facebook Groups, 175 Facebook accounts and 16 Instagram accounts linked to the Myanmar military. Collectively these were followed by over 10 million people. [451] The New York Times reported that: [452]

after months of reports about anti-Rohingya propaganda on Facebook, the company acknowledged that it had been too slow to act in Myanmar. By then, more than 700,000 Rohingya had fled the country in a year, in what United Nations officials called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Facebook's Complicit in Modi's Rise in India

In 2019 a book titled The Real Face of Facebook in India [453] , co-authored by the journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Cyril Sam alleges that Facebook was both directly complicit in, and benefited from, the rise of Modi’s BJP in India.

Company governance

Early Facebook investor and former Zuckerberg mentor Roger McNamee described Facebook as having "the most centralized decision-making structure I have ever encountered in a large company." [454] Nathan Schneider, a professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder argued for transforming Facebook into a platform cooperative owned and governed by the users. [455]

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes states that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has too much power, that the company is now a monopoly, and that, as a result, it should be split into multiple smaller companies. Hughes called for the breakup of Facebook in an op-ed on The New York Times. Hughes says he's concerned that Zuckerberg has surrounded himself with a team that doesn't challenge him and that as a result, it's the U.S. government's job to hold him accountable and curb his "unchecked power." [456] Hughes also said that "Mark's power is unprecedented and un-American." [457] Several U.S. politicians agree with Hughes. [458] EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has stated that splitting Facebook should only be done as "a remedy of the very last resort", and that splitting Facebook would not solve Facebook's underlying problems. [459]

Litigation

The company has been subject to repeated litigation. [460] [461] [462] [463] Its most prominent case addressed allegations that Zuckerberg broke an oral contract with Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra to build the then-named "HarvardConnection" social network in 2004. [464] [465] [466]

On March 6, 2018 BlackBerry sued Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp subdivision for ripping off key features of its messaging app. [467]

In 2019 British solicitors representing a bullied Syrian schoolboy, sued Facebook over false claims. They claimed that Facebook protected prominent figures from scrutiny instead of removing content that violates its rules and that the special treatment was financially driven. [468] [469]

In October 2018 a Texas woman sued Facebook, claiming she had been recruited into the sex trade at the age of 15 by a man who "friended" her on the social media network. Facebook responded that it works both internally and externally to ban sex traffickers. [470] [471]

Definers Public Affairs

In October 2017, Facebook expanded its work with Definers Public Affairs, a PR firm that had originally been hired to monitor press coverage of the company to address concerns primarily regarding Russian meddling, then mishandling of user data by Cambridge Analytica, hate speech on Facebook, and calls for regulation. [472] Company spokesman Tim Miller stated that a goal for tech firms should be to "have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that's being pushed out about your competitor". Definers claimed that George Soros was the force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement, and created other negative media, along with America Rising, that was picked up by larger media organisations like Breitbart. [472] [473] Facebook cut ties with the agency in late 2018, following public outcry over their association. [474]

Impact

Facebook on the ad:tech 2010 Ad-tech London 2010 (5).JPG
Facebook on the ad:tech 2010

Economy

Economists have noted that Facebook offers many non-rivalrous services that benefit as many users as are interested without forcing users to compete with each other. By contrast, most goods are available to a limited number of users. E.g., if one user buys a phone, no other user can by that phone. Three areas add the most economic impact: platform competition, the market place and user behavior data. [475]

Facebook began to reduce its carbon impact after Greenpeace attacked it for its long-term reliance on coal and resulting carbon footprint. [476]

Facebook provides a development platform for many social gaming, communication, feedback, review, and other applications related to online activities. This platform spawned many businesses and added thousands of jobs to the global economy. Zynga Inc., a leader in social gaming, is an example of such a businesses. An econometric analysis found that Facebook's app development platform added more than 182,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2011. The total economic value of the added employment was about $12 billion. [477]

Society

Facebook was the first social network to connect billions of people. Social networking allows people to stay in touch with friends, relatives and acquaintances wherever they are in the world. It can reunite lost family members and friends. [478] [479] It allows users to trade ideas and stay informed. It unites people with common interests and/or beliefs. [480] [481]

Facebook has changed how people communicate. It is a publishing platform that allows users to share content with others, possibly at a global scale. [482] One study found that informational uses were more correlated to civic and political action than to recreation. [483] [ better source needed ]

In The Facebook Effect David Kirkpatrick stated that Facebook's structure makes it difficult to replace, because of its "network effects". He notes how difficult it would be to move all of a user's relationships and photos to an alternative.

Facebook lets people participate in an atmosphere with the "over the backyard fence" of a neighborhood, despite the actual distance involved. [484] As of 2016, 44 percent of the US population gets news through Facebook. [485]

Emotional health

Studies have associated social networks with positive [486] and negative impacts [487] [488] [489] [490] [491] on emotional health. Studies have associated Facebook with feelings of envy, often triggered by vacation and holiday photos. Other triggers include posts by friends about family happiness and images of physical beauty—such feelings leave people dissatisfied with their own lives. A joint study by two German universities discovered that one out of three people were more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook, [492] [493] and another study by Utah Valley University found that college students felt worse about themselves following an increase in time on Facebook. [493] [494] [495]

Professor Larry D. Rosen stated that teenagers on Facebook exhibit more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults show signs of antisocial behavior, mania and aggressiveness. Positive effects included signs of "virtual empathy" towards online friends and helping introverted persons learn social skills. [496]

In a blog post in December 2017, the company highlighted research that has shown "passively consuming" the News Feed, as in reading but not interacting, left users with negative feelings afterwards, whereas interacting with messages pointed to improvements in well-being. [497]

Politics

A man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying "Facebook,#jan25, The Egyptian Social Network" 2011 Egyptian protests Facebook & jan25 card.jpg
A man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying "Facebook,#jan25, The Egyptian Social Network"

In February 2008, a Facebook group called "One Million Voices Against FARC" organized an event in which hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). [498] In August 2010, one of North Korea's official government websites and the country's official news agency, Uriminzokkiri, joined Facebook. [499]

During the Arab Spring many journalists claimed that Facebook played a major role in the 2011 Egyptian revolution. [500] [501] On January 14, the Facebook page of "We are all Khaled Said" was started by Wael Ghoniem to invite the Egyptian people to "peaceful demonstrations" on January 25. According to Mashable,[ unreliable source? ] in Tunisia and Egypt, Facebook became the primary tool for connecting protesters and led the Egyptian government to ban Facebook, Twitter and other websites on January 26 [502] then ban all mobile and Internet connections for all of Egypt on January 28. After 18 days, the uprising forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign.

In Bahrain an uprising that started on February 14, 2011, Facebook was utilized by the Bahraini regime and regime loyalists to identify, capture and prosecute citizens involved in the protests. A 20-year-old woman named Ayat Al Qurmezi was identified as a protester using Facebook and imprisoned. [503]

In 2011, Facebook filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a political action committee under the name FB PAC. [504] In an email to The Hill , a spokesman for Facebook said "Facebook Political Action Committee will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." [505]

During the Syrian civil war, the YPG, a libertarian army for Rojava recruited westerners through Facebook in its fight against ISIL. [506] [ better source needed ] Dozens joined its ranks. The Facebook page's name "The Lions of Rojava" comes from a Kurdish saying which translates as "A lion is a lion, whether it's a female or a male", reflecting the organization's feminist ideology. [507]

In recent years, Facebook's News Feed algorithms have been identified as a cause of political polarization, for which it has been criticized. [508] [509] It has likewise been accused of amplifying the reach of 'fake news' and extreme viewpoints, as when it may have enabled conditions which led to the 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis. [510] [511]

Facebook first played role in the American political process in January 2008, shortly before the New Hampshire primary. Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live feedback about the "back to back" January 5 Republican and Democratic debates. [512] [513] [514] Facebook users took part in debate groups on specific topics, voter registration and message questions. [515]

Over a million people installed the Facebook application "US Politics on Facebook" in order to take part which measured responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates. [516] A poll by CBS News, UWIRE and The Chronicle of Higher Education claimed to illustrate how the "Facebook effect" had affected youthful voters, increasing voting rates, support of political candidates, and general involvement. [517]

The new social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, connected hundreds of millions of people. By 2008, politicians and interest groups were experimenting with systematic use of social media to spread their message. [518] [519] By the 2016 election, political advertising to specific groups had become normalized. Facebook offered the most sophisticated targeting and analytics platform. [520] ProPublica noted that their system enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of "Jew hater," "How to burn jews," or, "History of 'why Jews ruin the world". [521]

The Cambridge Analytica data scandal offered another example of the perceived attempt to influence elections. [522] [523] The Guardian claimed that Facebook knew about the security breach for two years, but did nothing to stop it until it became public. [524]

India

Ahead of the 2019 general elections in India, Facebook has removed 103 pages, groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram platforms originating from Pakistan. Facebook said its investigation found a Pakistani military link, along with a mix of real accounts of ISPR employees, and a network of fake accounts created by them that have been operating military fan pages, general interest pages but were posting content about Indian politics while trying to conceal their identity [525] . Owing to the same reasons, Facebook also removed 687 pages and accounts of Congress because of coordinated inauthentic behavior on the platform. [526]

Science

Data from Facebook is used for different scientific investigations. One study examined how Facebook users interact with socially shared news and show that individuals’ choices played a stronger role in limiting exposure to cross-cutting content. [527] Another study found that most of health science students acquied academic materials from others through Facebook. [528]

Facebook parade float in San Francisco Pride 2014 SF Pride 2014 - Stierch 7.jpg
Facebook parade float in San Francisco Pride 2014

Signals from Facebook are also used in quality assessment of scientific works. [529] Facebook data can be used to assess the quality of Wikipedia articles. [530]

Culture

Facebook and Zuckerberg have been the subject of music, books, film and television. The 2010 film The Social Network, directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg and went on to win three Academy Awards and four Golden Globes.

In 2008, Collins English Dictionary declared "Facebook" as its new Word of the Year. [531] In December 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary declared its word of the year to be the verb "unfriend", defined as "To remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook". [532]

In July 2014, Shakira became the first celebrity to reach 100 million likes. [533] Cristiano Ronaldo was the second to reach that milestone. [534] [535] On March 15, 2015, Ronaldo surpassed Shakira to become the most liked person on Facebook. [536]

Internet.org

In August 2013, Facebook founded Internet.org in collaboration with 6 other technology companies to plan and help build affordable internet access for under developed and developing countries. Its goal was to bring internet access and the benefits of connectivity to the portion of the world that doesn‘t have them. [537]

The service, called Free Basics, includes various low-bandwidth applications such as AccuWeather, BabyCenter, BBC News, ESPN and the search engine Bing. [538] [539]

There was severe opposition to internet.org especially in India where the service started in partnership with Reliance communications in 2015 was banned a year later by TRAI. [540]

By 2018, Mark Zuckerberg said, “our Internet.org efforts have helped almost 100 million people get access to the internet who may not have had it otherwise.” [538] Free Basics is available in dozens of countries. [541]

See also

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