History of Facebook

Last updated

Mark Zuckerberg in 2005 MarkZuckerberg.jpg
Mark Zuckerberg in 2005

Facebook is a social networking service originally launched as TheFacebook on February 4, 2004, before changing its name to simply Facebook in August 2005. [1] It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students, in particular Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. [2] The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, [3] and gradually most universities in the United States and Canada, [4] [5] corporations, [6] and by September 2006, to everyone with a valid email address along with an age requirement of being 13 or older. [7] [8]

Contents

TheFacebook

A "face book" is a student directory featuring photos and basic information. [9] In 2003, there were no universal online facebooks at Harvard, with only paper sheets distributed [10] and private online directories. [11] [12] Zuckerberg told the Crimson that "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." [12] In January 2004, Zuckerberg began writing a code for a new website, known as "TheFacebook", with the inspiration coming from an editorial in the Crimson about Facemash, stating that "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. [13] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched it under the name of "TheFacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com. [14]

Zuckerberg intended to create a website that could connect people around the university. Upon finishing the site, Zuckerberg told a couple of friends, one of whom suggested sharing it on the Kirkland House online mailing list, which included several hundred people. According to his roommate, Dustin Moskovitz, "By the end of the night, we were ... actively watching the registration process. Within twenty-four hours, we had somewhere between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred registrants." [15]

Just six days after the launch of the site, three Harvard University 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, but instead using their idea to build a competing product. [16] The three complained to the Crimson, and the newspaper began an investigation. Zuckerberg knew about the investigation so he used TheFacebook.com to find members in the site who identified themselves as members of the Crimson. He examined a history of failed logins to see if any of the Crimson members had ever entered an incorrect password into TheFacebook.com. In the cases in which they had failed to log in, Zuckerberg tried to use them to access the Crimson members' Harvard email accounts, and he was successful in accessing two of them. In the end, three Crimson members filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg which was later settled. [16] [17]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard University. Within the first month, more than half the undergraduate population at Harvard was registered on the service. [18] Zuckerberg was joined in the promotion of the site by Saverin (business aspects), Dustin Moskovitz (programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and Chris Hughes. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. [3] This expansion continued when it opened to all Ivy League and Boston-area schools. It gradually reached most universities in the United States and Canada. [19] [20] [21] Facebook was incorporated in the summer of 2004, and the entrepreneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising Zuckerberg, became the company's president. [22] In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California. [3]

Facebook

The company dropped 'The' from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com in 2005 for $200,000. [23] The following year, the platform was made available for high school students, and in 2006, it became accessible to the general public.

In December 2005, it was reported that Facebook had 6 million monthly active users. [24] In April 2023, Facebook had 2.989 billion monthly active users.

Total active users [N 1]
DateUsers
(in millions)
±% p.m.
2004-02-04 0    
2004-04-04 0.07 [25]     
2004-07-04 0.1 [26]     
2004-10-04 1.5 [27]     
2008-08-26 100 [28]     
2009-04-08 200 [29] +9.83%
2009-09-15 300 [30] +8.02%
2010-01-05 400 [31] +8.13%
2010-07-21 500 [32] +3.51%
2011-01-05 600 [33] [N 2] +3.36%
2011-05-30 700 [34] +3.29%
2011-09-22 800 [35] +3.60%
2012-04-24 900 [36] +1.68%
2012-09-14 1,000 [37] +2.27%
2013-03-31 1,110 [38] +1.62%
2013-12-31 1,230 [39] +1.14%
2014-12-31 1,390 [40] +1.02%
2015-12-31 1,590 [41] +1.13%
2016-12-31 1,860 [42] +1.31%

On October 1, 2005, Facebook expanded to twenty-one universities in the United Kingdom and others around the world. Facebook launched a high school version in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step. [43] At that time, high school networks required an invitation to join. [44] Facebook later expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. [45] On December 11, 2005, universities in Australia and New Zealand were added to the Facebook network, bringing its size to 2,000+ colleges and 25,000+ high schools throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Facebook was then opened on September 26, 2006, to everyone aged 13 and older with a valid email address. [7] [8]

Late in 2007, Facebook had 100,000 business pages, allowing companies to attract potential customers and tell about themselves. These started as group pages, but a new concept called company pages was planned. [46]

In October 2008, Facebook announced that it would set up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. [47]

In 2010, Facebook began to invite users to become beta testers after passing a question-and-answer-based selection process, [48] and a set of Facebook Engineering Puzzles where users would solve computational problems which gave them an opportunity to be hired by Facebook. [49]

As of February 2011, Facebook had become the largest online photo host, being cited by Facebook application and online photo aggregator Pixable as expecting to have 100 billion photos by summer 2011. [50] As of October 2011, over 350 million users accessed Facebook through their mobile phones, accounting for 33% of all Facebook traffic. [51]

On March 12, 2012, Yahoo! filed suit in a U.S. federal court against Facebook weeks before the scheduled Facebook initial public offering. In its court filing, Yahoo! said that Facebook had infringed on ten of its patents covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking. Yahoo! had threatened to sue Facebook a month before the filing, insisting that the social network license its patents. A spokesperson for Facebook issued a statement saying "We're disappointed that Yahoo, a long-time business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation". [52] The lawsuit claims that Yahoo!'s patents cover basic social networking ideas such as customizing website users' experiences to their needs, adding that the patents cover ways of targeting ads to individual users. [53] In 2012, Facebook App Center, an online mobile store, was rolled out. The store initially had 500 Facebook apps which were mostly games. [54]

On April 24, 2014, Facebook and Storyful announced a new feature called FB Newswire. [55]

In addition to the Android and iOS mobile app, Facebook developed another Android and iOS app called Facebook Lite [56] which uses less data. Another project from Facebook is called Facebook Zero, which allows users to use a mobile text-only version of Facebook for free, without paying for mobile data when using some mobile network operators.

In May 2018, the company announced their own dating service, called Facebook Dating.

Financials

Entrance to Facebook headquarters complex in Menlo Park, California Facebook Headquarters Menlo Park.jpg
Entrance to Facebook headquarters complex in Menlo Park, California
Facebook's former headquarters in downtown Palo Alto, California Facebookheadquarters.jpg
Facebook's former headquarters in downtown Palo Alto, California

Initial funding

Facebook was initially incorporated as a Florida LLC. For the first few months after its launch in February 2004, the costs for the website operations for thefacebook.com were paid for by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, who had taken equity stakes in the company. The website also ran a few advertisements to meet its operating costs. [57]

First angel investment

In the summer of 2004, venture capitalist Peter Thiel made a $500,001 angel investment in the social network Facebook for 10.2% of the company and joined Facebook's board. This was the first outside investment in Facebook. [58] [59] [60]

In his book The Facebook Effect , David Kirkpatrick outlines the story of how Thiel came to make his investment: former Napster and Plaxo employee Sean Parker, who at the time had assumed the title of "President" of Facebook, was seeking investors for Facebook. Parker approached Reid Hoffman, the CEO of work-based social network LinkedIn. Hoffman liked Facebook but declined to be the lead investor because of the potential for conflict of interest with his duties as LinkedIn CEO. He redirected Parker to Peter Thiel, whom he knew from their PayPal days (both Hoffman and Thiel are considered members of the PayPal Mafia). Thiel met Parker and Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard college student who had founded Facebook and controlled it. Thiel and Zuckerberg got along well and Thiel agreed to lead Facebook's seed round with $500,000 for 10.2% of the company. Hoffman and Mark Pincus also participated in the round, along with Maurice Werdegar who led the investment on behalf of Western Technology Investment. The investment was originally in the form of a convertible note, to be converted to equity if Facebook reached 1.5 million users by the end of 2004. Although Facebook narrowly missed the target, Thiel allowed the loan to be converted to equity anyway. [61] Thiel said of his investment:

I was comfortable with them pursuing their original vision. And it was a very reasonable valuation. I thought it was going to be a pretty safe investment. [61]

Accel investment (Series A)

In April 2005, Accel Partners agreed to make a $12.7 million venture capital investment in a deal that valued Facebook at $98 million. Accel joined Facebook's board, and the board was expanded to five seats, with Zuckerberg, Thiel, and Accel's Jim Breyer in three of the seats, and the other two seats currently being empty but with Zuckerberg free to nominate anybody to those seats. [62]

Greylock investment (Series B)

In April 2006, Facebook closed its Series B funding round. This included $27.5 million from a number of venture capitalists, including Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital, plus additional investments from Peter Thiel and Accel Partners. The valuation for this round was about $500 million. [60] [63] [64]

A leaked cash flow statement showed that during the 2005 fiscal year, Facebook had a net gain of $5.66 million. [65]

Sales negotiations

With the sale of social networking website MySpace to News Corp on July 19, 2005, rumours surfaced about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company. [66] Zuckerberg had already stated that he did not want to sell the company, and denied rumors to the contrary. [67] On March 28, 2006, BusinessWeek reported that a potential acquisition of Facebook was under negotiation. Facebook reportedly declined an offer of $750 million from an unknown bidder, and it was rumored the asking price rose as high as $2 billion. [68]

In September 2006, serious talks between Facebook and Yahoo! took place concerning acquisition of Facebook, with prices reaching as high as $1 billion. [69] [70] Thiel, by then a board member of Facebook, indicated that Facebook's internal valuation was around $8 billion based on their projected revenues of $1 billion by 2015, comparable to Viacom's MTV brand, a company with a shared target demographic audience. [71]

On July 17, 2007, Zuckerberg said that selling Facebook was unlikely because he wanted to keep it independent, saying "We're not really looking to sell the company ... We're not looking to IPO anytime soon. It's just not the core focus of the company." [72] In September 2007, Microsoft approached Facebook, proposing an investment in return for a 5% stake in the company, offering an estimated $300–500 million. [73] That month, other companies, including Google, expressed interest in buying a portion of Facebook. [74]

Microsoft investment (Series C)

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. [75] However, Microsoft bought preferred stock that carried special rights, such as "liquidation preferences" that meant Microsoft would get paid before common stockholders if the company were sold. Microsoft's purchase also included the right to place international ads on Facebook. [76] In November 2007, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing invested $60 million in Facebook. [77]

DST investment

In 2009, Yuri Milner's DST (which later split into DST Global and Mail.ru Group), alongside Uzbek Russian metals magnate Alisher Usmanov, invested $200 million in Facebook when it was valued at $10 billion. [78] [79] [80] A separate stake was also acquired by Usmanov's USM Holdings on another occasion. [81] [78] According to the New York Times in 2013, "Mr. Usmanov and other Russian investors at one point owned nearly 10 percent of Facebook, though precise details of their ownership stakes are difficult to assess." [81] It was later revealed in 2017 by the Paradise Papers that lending by Russian state-backed VTB Bank and Gazprom's investment vehicle partially financed these 2009 investments, although Milner was reportedly unaware at the time. [82] [83]

Entrance to Facebook's former headquarters in the Stanford Research Park, Palo Alto, California. In January 2012 the company moved to a new campus in Menlo Park, California. 1601californiaavelobby.jpg
Entrance to Facebook's former headquarters in the Stanford Research Park, Palo Alto, California. In January 2012 the company moved to a new campus in Menlo Park, California.

Switch to profitability

In August 2008, BusinessWeek reported that private sales by employees, as well as purchases by venture capital firms, were being done at share prices that put the company's total valuation at between $3.75 billion and $5 billion. [76] In October 2008, Zuckerberg said "I don't think social networks can be monetized in the same way that search did ... In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today." [84]

Facebook hired Sheryl Sandberg as its Chief Operating Officer in March 2008. Sandberg is reported to have held a number of brainstorming sessions with Facebook employees on their long-term monetization strategy, which led to the conclusion that advertising would be the main source of monetization. Under Sandberg's leadership, Facebook made a number of changes to its advertising model with the aim of achieving profitability. In September 2009, Facebook stated that it had turned cash flow positive for the first time. [85]

In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year when its revenue, which is mainly from advertising, had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion. [86] Facebook also reported that 56% of its advertising revenue comes from the United States alone, and that 12% of its revenue comes from Zynga, the social network game development company. Payments and other fees were $557 million up from $106 million the previous year. [87]

Acquisitions

In August 2009, Facebook acquired social media real-time news aggregator FriendFeed, [88] a startup created by Gmail's first engineer Paul Buchheit. [89] [90] [91]

In February 2010, Facebook acquired Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions. [92] On April 2, 2010, Facebook announced acquisition of a photo-sharing service called Divvyshot for an undisclosed amount. [93] In June 2010, an online marketplace for trading private Facebook stock reflected a valuation of $11.5 billion. [94]

On April 12, 2012, Facebook acquired photo sharing service Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. [95] [96]

On March 8, 2013, Facebook announced that they acquired the team from Storylane, but not the product itself. [97] On October 13, 2013, Facebook acquired Onavo, an Israeli analytics company, for approximately $120 million. [98] [99] [100]

On February 19, 2014, Facebook announced its acquisition of WhatsApp, a smartphone instant messaging application for $19 billion in a mix of stock and cash. The acquisition is the most ever paid for a venture-capital backed startup. [101]

On March 25, 2014, Facebook announced they had acquired virtual reality startup Oculus VR for $2 billion in cash and stock. [102]

Initial public offering

Facebook filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on February 1, 2012. [103] The preliminary prospectus stated that the company was seeking to raise $5 billion. The document announced that the company had 845 million active monthly users and its website featured 2.7 billion daily likes and comments. [104] After the IPO, Zuckerberg retains a 22% ownership share in Facebook and owns 57% of the voting shares. [105]

Underwriters valued the shares at $38 each, pricing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly public company. [106] On May 16, one day before the IPO, Facebook announced that it would sell 25% more shares than originally planned due to high demand. [107] The IPO raised $16 billion, making it the third largest in U.S. history (just ahead of AT&T Wireless and behind only General Motors and Visa Inc.). [108] [109] The stock price left the company with a higher market capitalization than all but a few U.S. corporations – surpassing heavyweights such as Amazon.com, McDonald's, Disney, and Kraft Foods – and made Zuckerberg's stock worth $19 billion. [108] [109] The New York Times stated that the offering overcame questions about Facebook's difficulties in attracting advertisers to transform the company into a "must-own stock". Jimmy Lee of JPMorgan Chase described it as "the next great blue-chip". [108] Writers at TechCrunch, on the other hand, expressed skepticism, stating, "That's a big multiple to live up to, and [Facebook] will likely need to add bold new revenue streams to justify the mammoth valuation". [110]

Trading in the stock, which began on May 18, was delayed that day due to technical problems with the NASDAQ exchange. [111] The stock struggled to stay above the IPO price for most of the day, forcing underwriters to buy back shares to support the price. [112] At closing bell, shares were valued at $38.23, [113] only $0.23 above the IPO price and down $3.82 from the opening bell value. The opening was widely described by the financial press as a disappointment. [114] The stock nonetheless set a new record for trading volume of an IPO. [115] On May 25, 2012, the stock ended its first full week of trading at $31.91, a 16.5% decline. [116]

On 22 May, regulators from Wall Street's Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that they had begun to investigate whether banks underwriting Facebook had improperly shared information only with select clients, rather than the general public. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin subpoenaed Morgan Stanley over the same issue. [117] The allegations sparked "fury" among some investors and led to the immediate filing of several lawsuits, one of them a class action suit claiming more than $2.5 billion in losses due to the IPO. [118] Bloomberg estimated that retail investors may have lost approximately $630 million on Facebook stock since its debut. [119]

Timeline

YearMonth and date (if available)Event typeEvent
2004JanuaryCreationMark Zuckerberg begins with his fellow co-founders writing Facebook. [120]
2004February 4CreationZuckerberg launches Facebook as a Harvard-only social network. [121] [122]
2004April 13Financial/legalZuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin form Thefacebook.com LLC, a partnership. [123]
2004JuneFundingFacebook receives its first investment from Peter Thiel for US$500,000. [60]
2004July 29Financial/legalFacebook incorporates into a new company, [124] and Sean Parker (early employee of Napster) becomes its president. [22]
2004AugustProductTo compete with growing campus-only service i2hub, Zuckerberg launches Wirehog. It is a precursor to Facebook Platform applications. [125]
2004SeptemberFinancial/legal ConnectU files a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and other Facebook founders. [123]
2004December 30UserbaseFacebook achieves its one millionth registered user. [126]
2005March 10UserbaseFacebook expands to UK universities. University of Surrey, Cambridge and Oxford are the first three UK universities on the platform.
2005May 26Funding Accel Partners invests $13 million into Facebook. [123]
2005July 19Acquisition talks News Corp acquires MySpace, spurring rumors about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company. [66]
2005August 23ProductFacebook acquires Facebook.com domain for $200,000. [123]
2005SeptemberProductFacebook launches a high school version of the website. [127]
2005OctoberProductFacebook launches its photos feature with no restrictions on storage (but without the ability to tag friends). [128]
2005DecemberProductFacebook introduces the ability to tag friends in photos. [128]
2006March 28Acquisition talksA potential acquisition of Facebook is reportedly under negotiations, for $750 million first, then later $2 billion. [68]
2006AprilUserbaseFacebook expands its membership requirements to include corporate employees. [129]
2006August 22ProductFacebook launches a blogging feature known as "Facebook Notes". [130]
2006September 26UserbaseMembership is opened to anyone. [131]
2006September 6Product (news feed)Facebook launches News Feed. [132] The original news feed is an algorithmically generated and constantly refreshing summary of updates about the activities of one's friends. The concept was relatively new at the time, with Twitter having launched only a few months in advance.
2006SeptemberAcquisition talksFacebook discusses with Yahoo! about the latter possibly acquiring the former, for $1 billion. [68]
2007January 10ProductFacebook launches m.facebook.com and officially announces mobile support. [133]
2007May 24ProductFacebook announces Facebook Platform for developers to build applications on top of Facebook's social graph. [134] [135]
2007October 24Funding Microsoft announces that it will purchase a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. However, Microsoft also gained ad exclusivity in this deal, so the $15 billion valuation figure is disputed. [75]
2007November 6Product (news feed)Facebook launches Facebook Beacon with 44 partner sites at the time of launch. Beacon is part of Facebook's advertisement system that sends data from external websites to Facebook, for the purpose of allowing targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends. Certain activities on partner sites are published to a user's News Feed. [136] On the same day, Facebook launched Facebook Pages. [137]
2007November 19ProductFacebook removes "is" from status updates, allowing users to adopt a more free-form version of status updates. [138]
2008MayTeam Adam D'Angelo, an early employee and chief technology officer, leaves Facebook. [139]
2008JuneFinancial/legalFacebook settles both lawsuits, ConnectU vs Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg et al. and intellectual property theft, Wayne Chang et al. over The Winklevoss Chang Group's Social Butterfly project. The settlement effectively had Facebook acquiring ConnectU for $20 million in cash and over $1.2 million in shares, valued at $45 million based on $15 billion company valuation. [140]
2008July 21ProductFacebook launches a complete site redesign with options for tabbed redesign, and allows users to opt into it. [141] [142] By September 2008, it forces all users to opt-in. [143]
2008AugustFinancial/legalEmployees reportedly privately sell their shares to venture capital firms, at a company valuation of between $3.75 billion to $5 billion. [76]
2008OctoberPhysical locationFacebook sets up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. [144]
2008NovemberProductFacebook launches Facebook Credits in order to help users purchase Facebook gifts. [145]
2009February 9ProductFacebook activates the Facebook like button. [146]
2009AugustAcquisitionFacebook acquires FriendFeed. [88]
2009SeptemberFinancial/legalFacebook claims that it has turned cash flow positive for the first time. [147]
2009September 10ProductFacebook announces a feature whereby people can @-tag friends in their status updates and comments. [148] [149]
2009SeptemberProductFacebook shuts down Beacon.
2010FebruaryAcquisitionFacebook acquires Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions. [150]
2010April 2AcquisitionFacebook announces the acquisition of photo-sharing service called Divvy-shot for an undisclosed amount. [151]
2010April 19ProductFacebook introduces Community Pages, which are Pages that are populated with articles from Wikipedia. [152]
2010JuneFinancial/legalFacebook employees sell shares of the company on SecondMarket at a company valuation of $11.5 billion. [153]
2010JuneProductFacebook introduces the option to Like individual comments.
2010October 1Popular culture The Social Network , a film about the beginnings of Facebook directed by David Fincher & stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark is released. The film is met with widespread critical acclaim as well as commercial success; however, Mark Zuckerberg says that the film is a largely inaccurate account of what happened.
2010DecemberProductFacebook launches a redesign that emphasizes the most important parts of someone's life, including one's biographic information, photos, education, work experience, and important relationships. It replaces the tabs at the top of each profile page with links on the left side of the page. [154]
2011JanuaryFunding$500 million is invested into Facebook for 1% of the company, placing its worth at $50 billion. [155]
2011FebruaryProductFacebook application and content aggregator Pixable estimates that Facebook will host 100 billion photos by summer 2011. [156]
2011June 28Competition Google launches Google+, widely perceived as a competitor to Facebook. Commentators believe that Facebook's subsequent rapid release of new features and improvements may have in part been hastened due to competition from Google+. [157] [158]
2011July 6ProductFacebook partners with Skype to add video chat and updates its website interface. [159]
2011August 9, then October 19ProductFacebook Messenger is launched for Android and IOS. October 19, 2011 update makes the app available to Blackberry os. [160]
2011September, then November 30ProductFacebook increases the character limit for status update posts from 500 to 5,000 in September and to 63,206 on November 30. [158]
2011September 14ProductFacebook allows people to subscribe to non-friends and to set the extent to which they receive updates from their existing friends and people they are subscribing to. [161]
2011September 15ProductFacebook partners with Heroku for Facebook application development using the Facebook Platform. [162]
2011September 22ProductFacebook launches new UI Timeline in F8 Convention.
2011October 6Accessibility Facebook for SIM, a client/server SIM application developed by international digital security company Gemalto that enables people to access Facebook using the SMS protocol on their mobile phones, without needing a data plan, is released in partnership with select carriers. [163]
2011October 10AccessibilityFacebook launches iPad app. [164]
2011December 21ProductFacebook login page changes due to Facebook Timeline addition.
2012January 10Product (news feed)Facebook starts showing advertisements (called Featured Posts) in the news feed. The advertisements are generally for pages that one's Facebook friends have engaged with. [165] [166]
2012AprilAcquisitionFacebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion. [167]
2012May 18Financial/legal Facebook IPO: Facebook goes public, negotiating a share price of $38 apiece, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company. [168]
2012June 13ProductFacebook launches Facebook Exchange (FBX), a real-time bidding ad system where advertisers can bid on users based on third-party websites visited by the users (as tracked by a cookie on the third-party website). [169] [170]
2012OctoberUserbaseFacebook reaches 1 billion active users. [171]
2013January 15ProductFacebook announces and begins rolling out Facebook Graph Search. [172]
2013January 30, then April 9ProductFacebook rolls out detailed and fine-grained emoticons to express different actions and emotional states in one's status updates (experimental launch January 30, official launch with universal availability April 9). [173] [174]
2013March 7Product (news feed)Facebook announces major planned changes to the News Feed. [175] However, it is later revealed that Facebook abandoned these changes after getting negative feedback from users. [176]
2013March 8AcquisitionFacebook announces that they acquired the team from Storylane, but not the product itself. [97]
2013April 4, then April 12Product (mobile-only)Facebook launches Facebook Home, a user interface layer for Android-compatible phones that provides a replacement home screen that makes it easier for users to browse and post. [177] [178]
2013April 15ProductFacebook launches a new timeline with Video Autoplay.
2013April–JulyProductFacebook launches Stickers, initially only for its iOS apps in April, [179] [180] but later expanding to its web version in July. [181]
2013June 12, then June 27ProductFacebook announces support for hashtags, initially only for the web (June 12). [182] [183] Later (June 27), more functionality is added and hashtags are extended to the mobile site and apps. [184]
2013June 30Political activismZuckerberg joins 700 Facebook employees for the June 2013 Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration march in San Francisco, U.S. The 2013 Pride celebration was especially significant, as it followed a Supreme Court of the United States ruling that deemed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. [185] [186]
2013August 20Userbase/accessibilityFacebook launches Internet.org in collaboration with six cellphone companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera Software, and Qualcomm). Internet.org aims to bring affordable Internet access to everybody by increasing affordability, increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access. [187] [188] [189] [190]
2013September 26ProductFacebook begins letting people edit their posts and comments after publishing. [191] [192]
2013September 29ProductFacebook announces that it will begin rolling out Graph Search for posts and comments. [193] [194]
2013October 13AcquisitionFacebook acquires Onavo, an Israeli analytics company, for approximately $120 million. [98] [99] [100]
2013November 13Acquisition talksA number of news outlets reports that Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for US$3 billion but was spurned. [195] [196]
2013December 18Financial/legalFacebook, Zuckerberg, & banks face IPO lawsuit. [197]
2014January 13AcquisitionFacebook acquires Branch Media, and it is announced that the team working on the startup will join Facebook to work on conversations products for Facebook that builds on similar ideas as Branch Media's products, while Branch Media's existing products will continue to operate separately. Facebook confirms that the acquisition is a talent acquisition. [198] [199]
2014January 16ProductFacebook launches Trending Topics for its web version in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Australia. [200] [201] This is based on feedback to a pilot version tested both on the web and mobile starting August 2013. [202] [203]
2014January 30, then February 3Product (mobile-only)On January 30, Facebook announces Facebook Paper, a separate iOS app that provides a newspaper-like or magazine-like experience for reading on the phone, scheduled for launch on February 3. [204] Facebook also announces Facebook Creative Labs, an intra-company effort to have separate teams working on separate mobile apps that specialize in different facets related to the Facebook experience, rather than trying to make changes to Facebook's main web version, mobile version, or its iOS and Android apps, and says that Facebook Paper is the first product of Facebook Creative Labs. [176] [205] [206] Facebook Paper receives mixed reviews, and some commentators note its similarity with Flipboard. [207] [208]
2014February 4MilestoneFacebook marks the ten-year anniversary of its launch (February 4, 2004), and Mark Zuckerberg writes a public post about why he is proud of Facebook so far. [209] [210] [211] The Pew Research Center releases a report about increasing Facebook usage by adults to mark the occasion. [212] Many other commentators write articles about Facebook to honor the occasion. [176] [213] [214] [215]
2014February 4–7ProductOn February 4, on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Facebook introduces its Look Back feature that creates an automated video for each person looking back on the person's life as recorded on Facebook. [216] On February 7, Facebook adds the ability to edit the Look Back videos. [217]
2014February 13Political activismFacebook opens up many new LGBTQ-friendly gender identity and pronoun options. [218] [219] [220] [221]
2014February 19AcquisitionFacebook announces that it is acquiring the Sequoia Capital-backed multi-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp for US$16 billion ($4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook shares) plus an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing. [222] [223] [224] [225] [226] [227] According to the announcement, WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, Facebook will continue developing Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum will join the Facebook Board of Directors. [222] On February 24, in a keynote address to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Zuckerberg says that the WhatsApp acquisition is part of the Internet.org vision. [228]
2014March 3AcquisitionRumors are circulated that Facebook is buying drone maker Titan Aerospace for $60 million. It is believed that the acquisition will help bolster Facebook's vision with Internet.org. [229] [230] Later, on April 14, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is acquiring Titan Aerospace. [231]
2014March 6Product (news feed)Facebook announces that it will begin rollout of a somewhat modified news feed. The changes are along the same lines as those announced in the planned revamp announced March 7, 2013 (that was halted), but are more minor and focused. [232] [233] [234]
2014March 17ProductFacebook's face recognition algorithm (DeepFace) reaches near-human accuracy in identifying faces. [235] [236]
2014March 25AcquisitionFacebook announces that it is acquiring Oculus VR, Inc., a leading virtual reality company. [237] [238] The amount is reported to be $2 billion in cash and stock. [239] [240] [241]
2014March 27AccessibilityFacebook announces a Connectivity Lab as part of the Internet.org initiative, with the goal of bringing the Internet to everybody via drones, using acqhires from Ascenta. [242] [243] [244] [245]
2014April 24ProductFacebook announces FB Newswire to help journalists find news on its website. [55]
2014April 30Product, accessibilityFacebook launches anonymous login so that people can use apps without giving them their data. [246]
2014June 18Product (mobile-only)Facebook releases Facebook Slingshot, an instant messaging software application for sharing photos and videos with friends, for Android and iOS devices. [247] [248] [249] [250] [251]
2014July 21ProductFacebook launches Save, a read-it-later feature that allows users to save links, places, and media pages for later perusal. [252]
2014September 15 onwardUserbase/controversyFacebook cracks down on the Facebook profiles of drag queens in San Francisco, asking them to switch to using their real names, and shutting down the accounts of those who refuse to comply. [253] There is considerable pushback, including a planned protest at Facebook headquarters, that is delayed for a meeting with Facebook, but Facebook refuses to budge on its policy. [254] Many people, particularly those in or sympathetic to the LGBTQ community, sign up for competing social network Ello, that does not enforce a real names policy, promises to remain "ad-free and porn-friendly", and aims to have a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech. [255] [256] On October 1, Facebook announced a clarification to its real name policy and said that drag queens could continue operating their accounts. The company clarified that people should use their authentic real-world names but need not use their legal names. [257]
2014October 6AcquisitionFacebook officially completes the acquisition of WhatsApp, and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum agrees to match Mark Zuckerberg's $1 salary. [258]
2014October 23ProductFacebook launches pseudonymous app Rooms, where Facebook users can create and participate in forums on any topic and do not need to use their real names. [259] The forthcoming launch of the app had been reported on October 7. [260] [261]
2014October 31AccessibilityFacebook creates a custom Tor link, making it easier for people to access Facebook anonymously in locations where it is censored. [262] [263] [264]
2014November 7Product (news feed)Facebook makes it easy for people to unfollow friends and pages they've liked, both while viewing pages in the feed and while reviewing summaries of the most prolific contributors to their feed. [265] [266]
2014December 8ProductFacebook rolls out keyword search for all posts, part of Facebook Graph Search, to all US English users on desktop and using iPhones. [267] [268] [269] It is cited as a potential competitor to Yelp and other product recommendation engines [270] and also as a potential way to surface old, embarrassing posts by people. [271]
2014December 11OutreachFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds his second Q&A, open to the public, about Facebook, where he discusses the dislike button and Facebook's role in promoting viewpoint diversity, helping people share more, and facilitating social and political transparency. [272] [273] [274]
2015January 5AcquisitionFacebook acquires Wit.ai, a Y Combinator startup founded 18 months ago to create an API for building voice-activated interfaces. [275] [276] [277] [278] [279] [280]
2015January 8AcquisitionFacebook acquires QuickFire Networks, a company that built a custom hardware and software platform for reducing video file sizes and upload times. The Wall Street Journal got the news on January 8, with confirmation later arriving on QuickFire’s site. [281] [282] [283] [284]
2015January 16Open sourcingFacebook open sources the Torch library, containing some of its deep learning tools in machine learning, including new code that runs 23 times as fast for training convolutional neural networks as the fastest publicly available code until that time. [285] [286] [287]
2015January 20Product (news feed)Facebook announces that it will show fewer hoaxes in the news feed, and mark items it identifies as potential hoaxes so that readers can view them more critically. [288] [289] [290]
2015March 17ProductFacebook introduces a free friend-to-friend payment service within its Messenger app. This is touted by some tech journalists as potential competition for PayPal's Venmo service. [291] [292] [293]
2015March 25ProductAt the first day of the 2015 F8 conference (a conference for Facebook to make announcements about major product and service changes), the company makes a bunch of announcements, with the unifying theme being that the company wants to be an integrated bunch of apps, each fulfilling a somewhat different role. Currently, the company's leading apps include its main app, Messenger, and externally built and acquired apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp. [294] Specific announcements include making Facebook Messenger more of a platform, a new real-time comments system, embeddable videos, spherical video, Parse for the Internet of Things, updates to ad exchange LiveRail, and analytics for apps. [295]
2015March 26Open sourcingFacebook releases its React native framework for building native apps as open source. This is announced on the second day of the F8 conference. [296]
2015March 31Userbase, productFacebook launches a feature called Scrapbook that allows parents to give their kids an official presence on Facebook even when they are too young to have their own accounts on the network by tagging them in photos. A Scrapbook can be owned by two people who have indicated to Facebook that they are in a relationship. When the kids grow old enough and get their own accounts, they can take over ownership of the Scrapbook and change the privacy settings thereof. [297] [298] [299]
2015April 22ProductFacebook launches an Android app called Hello to instantly matches phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls to Facebook profiles to show information about the caller/callee, block calls from commonly blocked numbers, and search for businesses to call, with initial rollout in the United States, Brazil, and Nigeria. There is no corresponding iOS app, because iOS does not allow apps to interact with phone calls. [300] [301] [302] Commentators compare Facebook Hello to the native Android dialer app [303] and to TrueCaller, an app with crowdsourced data. [304]
2015April 28 (announcement), April 30 (closure)Product, platformFacebook announces that it is shutting down its friends data API, forcing developers to migrate to the Graph API. The company is also allowing for more granular control of data that users may share with apps. [305] [306] [307]
2015May 12ProductFacebook launches "Instant Articles" for Publishers. [308] Publishers who use Instant Articles can opt in to have some of their articles shown to mobile users inside Facebook's app itself, without users having to leave the app and visit the customer's website. Initial launch partners include BuzzFeed , the New York Times , National Geographic and six others. The article as displayed on Facebook mimics the article on the website in terms of layout, and Instant Articles allows for correct attribution and analytics with tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture, and Comscore, in addition to publishers benefiting from Facebook's own analytics. Publishers can choose to have only a subset of their content available as Instant Articles, and Facebook handles the porting of the article to the Instant Article format itself. BuzzFeed praised Facebook for complying with its requests for compatibility with analytics tracking, and said the process was very collaborative throughout. Load times are claimed to be ten times faster than the mobile web. Publishers can keep all the ad revenue if using their own ads, but Facebook gets a 30% cut if the ads are shown by Facebook. [308] [309] [310] [311] [312]
2015May 29Product (news feed)Facebook confirms official support for GIFs. Autoplay settings for GIFs would be the same as those for videos: users who have video autoplay set to on (the default setting) will have GIFs autoplay when they scroll to the GIF in their news feed. Others can play the GIF manually by clicking the GIF button on the feed item with the GIF. [313]
2015June–AugustProductFacebook adds more features for pages to make it easier for businesses to use them. These include: allowing pages to display how quickly they respond to messages, [314] allowing pages to send saved replies to messages, [315] allowing pages to use private messages for customer support, [316] and adding buy button integration to pages. [317]
2015June–JulyProduct (news feed)Facebook makes changes to its news feed algorithm in a few different directions. It relinquishes some control to users allowing them to dictate what they see first in the news feed. [318] [319] Also, it announces that it will start using information on how long people hover on a particular item in their news feed to gauge their level of interest in the item, in addition to the more explicit signals it currently uses (likes, comments, shares). [320]
2015AugustProductOn August 5, Facebook launches live-streaming, initially restricted only to celebrities. [321] Subsequently, on August 12, it announces that the feature will be made available to journalists and those with verified profiles. [322]
2015August 26ProductFacebook begins rolling out a human- and AI-powered virtual assistant called "M". M is available through Facebook's Messenger app, and is capable of performing tasks on behalf of users, including placing restaurant reservations and booking travel. [323] [324] At launch, M is only available to a small group of testers, and in April 2016 Facebook would confirm that it could be years before M is broadly available. [325]
2015August 27UserbaseFacebook announces that it has hit the milestone of 1 billion users accessing it on a single day. [326]
2015October 27AccessibilityFacebook announces an initiative called 2G Tuesdays. With this initiative, Facebook engineers can opt in to access Facebook at 2G speeds for an hour every Tuesday (thus partly mimicking the experience of a nonnegligible fraction of Internet users in developing countries). The goal is to make Facebook engineers better understand the challenges of using Facebook with poor Internet speeds, and in turn help improve the Facebook experience for these users. [327] [328]
2015DecemberProductFacebook announces that it will add a feature for booking a ride through its messaging application. Users of Facebook Messenger in the U.S. will be able to summon an Uber car with a few taps. [329]
2016January MarchProductFacebook Live that was originally launched in August 2015 and limited to celebrities, becomes available to all U.S. iPhone users on January 28. [330] [331] On February 18, the global rollout begins. [332] It becomes available to U.S. Android users in the week following February 26. [333] Starting March 1, Facebook starts pushing live content more compared to older content. [334] Commentators describe Facebook Live as marking Facebook's entry into the live-streaming space, competing with Twitter-owned Periscope. [330]
2016February 24ProductFacebook releases Facebook Reactions to the general public. The feature allows people to use five additional reactions beyond just the "like" action to convey their reaction to a post. The new reactions are "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Sad", and "Angry" (another reaction, "Yay", that was used in initial testing of the feature, has been removed). [335] Although the names differ across languages, the emoticons used are the same across languages. Each user can add at most one reaction to a post. [336] [337] An early version of Reactions was released in October 2015 in Ireland and Spain. [338] [339]
2016March 18ProductFacebook provide "Basketball Game" function in Messenger. [340]
2016April 12 and 13Product Facebook F8 for 2016 includes a number of announcements about the product roadmap. Key highlights include: Messenger chatbots and a new bot engine, open source virtual reality camera, more tools for Facebook apps and Facebook Live, allowing businesses to send sponsored messages to people who have messaged them in the past, more changes around improving rights management for videos, and increased support for React Native from Microsoft and Samsung. [341] [342] [343]
2016April 21Product (news feed)Facebook announces that it is updating its news feed algorithm to take into account the time that a person spends reading the article, off Facebook (using various techniques to control for load time and article length). In the previous set of updates rolled out in June and July 2015, Facebook had started taking into account the time people spend viewing the item in their news feed, but the new change takes into account the user's activity outside Facebook. The change is part of Facebook's Feed Quality Program, and is a result of research showing that people's activity on Facebook failed to fully capture the extent to which they were interested in particular items. [344] [345] Commentators believe that this is likely to lead to a significant reduction in the circulation of misleading clickbait on the social network. [346]
2016April 27 and 28Financial/legal, userbaseFacebook releases its 2016 Q1 earnings report, showing an increase in earnings to 77 cents per share up from 42 cents per share a year ago. The earnings beat analyst expectations, and cause Facebook share prices to soar, leading its market cap to exceed that of Johnson & Johnson. Facebook also reports an increase of 57% in advertising revenue to $5.2 billion, with mobile advertising now accounting for 82% of advertising revenue. It also reports a year-over-year increase in daily active users by 16% to 1.09 billion and in monthly active users by 15% to 1.65 billion. [347] [348] [349] Facebook also announces a proposal to create a new class of nonvoting stock. [349] [350]
2016MayProduct, controversy Gizmodo publishes a series of articles about alleged problems with Facebook's Trending Topics section, including lack of integration of the Trending Topics team with Facebook's overall culture and workforce, discretion vested in that team to make decisions (including the ability to artificially inject content into Trending Topics even if it has not been trending so far), and potential for bias in the way the discretion is exercised, with a particular focus on bias against conservatism. [351] [352] [353] The controversy is picked up by other news media, the United States Senate Committee, and many conservative outlets. [354] [355] [356] Facebook defends itself against the allegations, [357] but also invites leading conservatives, including United States Republican presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump, libertarian-leaning conservative commentator Glenn Beck (who is very impressed with Facebook's actions), and CNN commentator S. E. Cupp, for a meeting to discuss and address concerns. [358] [359] On May 23, Facebook announces changes to its Trending Topics section, and releases a 28-page document on the subject. [360] [361]
2016May 25ProductFacebook announces that it is shutting down Facebook Exchange (FBX), its desktop ad exchange. The reasons cited include that FBX makes a very small share of Facebook's ad revenue, and that it is of limited utility because is purely desktop-based, and any successful ad campaign must include mobile, that people are increasingly using. [362] [363] [364]
2016June 15ProductFacebook introduces the secret Messenger soccer game, similar to the basketball game. [365] [366]
2016June 29Product (news feed)Facebook publishes its list of "News Feed Values" that will guide its decisions and algorithms for the news feed. A core value listed is that friends and family come first, and Facebook announces that it is increasing the circulation of content about friends and family relative to publisher content. [367] [368] [369]
2016August 4Product (news feed)Facebook announces algorithm changes that penalize "clickbait" titles, based on a score assigned by a machine-learned model. The model is trained based on cases where users like a link, click it, and then immediately bounce and unlike pages. The algorithm is applied both at the web domain level and at the Facebook page level. [370] [371] [372]
2016August 11Product (advertising)Facebook and AdBlock Plus enter into an escalating war. AdBlock Plus tries to block advertisements and sponsored content on Facebook's site, but Facebook releases a workaround, to which AdBlock Plus releases its own workaround. Facebook's argument is that ad blockers are a crude solution, and Facebook's approach of giving users more fine-grained control over the content they see in the feed is superior. AdBlock Plus disagrees with the assessment and says ad blockers should not be blamed for users' desire to have an ad-free experience. [373] [374] [375] The ad blocking war continues into September [376] [377] and discussion continues into November, with Facebook reportedly having boosted its ad revenue owing to its blocking of ad blockers. [378]
2016October 3ProductIn the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, Facebook launches Marketplace, a way to buy and sell items through Facebook. Marketplace appears as a tab in the mobile app. [379] The feature has been compared to Craigslist. [380]
2016November 30ProductFacebook launches in select countries [381] Instant Games on Messenger and Facebook News Feed, which allows users to play games without installing new apps. The games are provided via HTML5. At launch, Instant Games does not allow game developers to place ads or in-game payments in games, but Facebook commits to allowing eventual monetization. [382] [383] The platform initially has 17 games. [384]
2016December 15Product (news feed)Facebook announces a set of news feed updates to combat the problem of fake news and hoaxes. These include more streamlining for users reporting fake news, a partnership with signatory organizations to Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles to examine items reported as fake, learning from lower share rates for people who view the article that the item might be fake, and warnings to users when they share news that is disputed or possibly fake. [385] [386] [387] [388]
2017January 11OutreachFacebook introduces the Facebook Journalism Project, an effort to bolster its relationship with media and news organizations and journalists. [389] [390]
2017end of JanuaryProductFacebook begins integrating the Messenger interface into the messages inbox, replacing the old inbox interface. This change makes the Facebook messages inbox interface similar to that seen on messenger.com. [391]
2017February 15ProductIn the United States and Canada, Facebook launches a feature to search for jobs. The feature allows businesses to post job openings through the status update composer, and allows users to apply to those job postings. [392] [393] [394] [395]
2017February 16Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook's principal founder and CEO) pens a long note on his personal Facebook titled "Building Global Community" that talks about supportive, safe, informed, civically engaged, and inclusive community. [396] The note receives widespread discussion, including comparisons with a political manifesto. [397] [398]
2017March 23Product (messaging)Facebook adds reactions and mentions inside Messenger (both the app and the web experience). [399]
2017April 27AccessibilityFacebook launches Messenger Lite in over 100 additional countries. [400] [401] [402]
2017May 3ProductFacebook adds reactions to comments. Reactions were previously available on messages (sent via Messenger) and Facebook posts but not in comments. [403] [404]
2017May 21Controversy The Guardian publishes The Facebook Files, leaked Facebook documents detailing Facebook's moderation policies for graphic depictions of sex and violence as well as racist, sexist, and hate speech. [405] [406] The revelations lead to public discussion of the specifics of Facebook's policies, as well as calls on Facebook to be more transparent. [407] [408] [409] [410]
2017March 30, May 24Product (fundraising)Facebook Fundraising is launched. On March 30, the fundraising tools are introduced in beta. [411] [412] [413] On May 24, the product exits beta and is available in the United States for all users over 18 years of age. [414] [415]
2017June 27UserbaseFacebook reaches 2 billion monthly active users. [416] [417] [418] [419] [420]
2017August 18Product (messaging)Facebook Messenger rolls out rich text formatting, with support for bold, italics, inline code, and strike-through. [421] In addition, LaTeX math expressions are implemented through KaTeX. [422] [423]
2017September 7Userbase/controversyFacebook blocks 470 fake accounts after claiming them to be linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which is suspect to have bought thousands of ads during the United States presidential campaign. [424] The company claims having discovered a Russian-funded campaign to promote divisive social and political messages on its network. [425]
2017September 27ControversyUnited States president Donald Trump declares on Twitter that Facebook was always "anti-Trump". However, the claim wouldn't have sequel in the stock market, with Facebook’s share price on the rise. [426]
2017October 11OutageFacebook and Instagram experience widespread outage impacting a large number of users' ability to access the services across the world, with the areas experiencing the most problems appearing to be the West and East Coasts of North America, and various parts of Europe, with parts of South America and Southeast Asia getting errors as well. [427] [428] [429]
2017October 31StaffUnder intensifying pressure from legislators and consumers to clean up its site, Facebook pledges to double its 10,000-person safety and security staff by end of 2018. [430]
2017November 8Program launchIn an effort to combat revenge porn, Facebook encourages users in Australia to submit their nude photos to a pilot project designed to prevent intimate images from being shared without consent. Adults who have shared nude or sexually explicit photos with someone online, and who are worried about unauthorised distribution, under the program can securely send the photos to themselves via Messenger, a process that allows Facebook to "hash" them, creating an identifier which would block any further distribution on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger as a pre-emptive strike against revenge porn, a common method of abuse and exploitation online. [431] [432] [433]
2017November 16ProductIn an effort to combat fake news and promote authentic, fact-based journalism, Facebook launches Trust Indicators, a tool to help users determine how each particular publication works. The measure is also taken by Google and Twitter. [434] [435] [436] [437]
2017November 16ProductAfter live videos having skyrocketed on Facebook in the last months, the social network launches Facebook Creator, an app for mobile video posts offering influencers Live Creative Kit for adding intros and outros to broadcasts, a unified inbox of Facebook and Instagram comments plus Messenger chats, cross-posting to Twitter and expansive analytics. [438] [439] [440] [441]
2017December 3StaffFacebook opens new office in London, expecting to hire 800 new staff. Interiorly designed by Frank Gehry, the office would be Facebook's biggest engineering hub outside the United States. [442] [443] [444]
2017December 4ProductFacebook launches Messenger Kids, a version of Messenger for children from ages six to 12. The app does not require a Facebook account (illegal for this range of age). Rather, parents are able to manage a child’s Messenger Kids app from their Facebook account, controlling which friends and family members the child is able to contact. [445] [446] [447]
2017December 19ProductIn an effort to prevent people from impersonating others, Facebook expands its use of facial recognition technology by introducing new tool that would alert people that a friend, or a friend of a friend, uploaded a photo of them, even if they haven't been tagged in the picture. [448] [449] [450] [451]
2018January 11AcquisitionFacebook acquires personalized image search engine Dreambit.[ citation needed ]
2018January 23AcquisitionFacebook acquires Boston-based biometric ID verification startup Confirm.io, which offers a system for verifying the authenticity of ID cards, biometrics and facial recognition. [452] [453] [454]
2018January 25ControversyFacebook admits to the United States Senate that its software, in some cases, recommended content produced by Russian propaganda operatives around the time of the 2016 presidential election; stating however that it has found insignificant overlap between Russian-produced content and pages created by the Trump's election campaign. [455] [456] [457]
2018January 30PolicyIn an intentionally broad policy aimed at stopping scammers, Facebook bans all ads promoting cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and initial coin offerings. [458] [459]
2018January 31UserbaseFacebook reports losing daily users for the first time ever in the United States and Canada. However, globally, the number of people using Facebook daily rose 14% compared to the previous year, but falling by 700,000 people in the US and Canada for the first time. [460]
2018March 17–26ControversyA whistleblower reveals that British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested 50 million Facebook profiles and used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual voters in the United States, in order to target them with personalized political advertisements. [461] On March 26, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announces it is investigating Facebook's privacy practices following the revelations. [462] The scandal would affect deeply the image of Facebook, with a loss of nearly US$50 billion in market capitalization since the data scandal. [463]
2018April 10–11Legal Mark Zuckerberg attends his first congressional hearings at Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. testifying about controversies over Facebook data privacy, and being questioned for almost 10 hours in two days by senators and representatives over the company's privacy policies. [464] On the first day, Zuckerberg repeatedly apologizes and promises privacy reforms on Facebook, but also pointedly defends his company against the threat of new legislation. [465] Facing tougher questions on the second day regarding Facebook policies about user privacy, data collection, political bias and the social network's business model, Zuckerberg would reject suggestions from Congress members that Facebook users did not have enough control over their data. [466] However, he would explain plans to tighten data policies, protect users from further leaks and become more transparent about who's advertising on his site. [467]
2018April 26LegalFacebook CTO Mike Schroepfer is grilled for five hours by the UK Parliament; he is a stand-in for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. [468] Among other things, in the testimony he gives estimates of Facebook's numbers of "dark ads" on Facebook, in connection with consumer advocate Martin Lewis whose name was used by malicious advertisers on advertisements for spam and misleading products. [469]
2023November 7LegalA former Meta employee, Arturo Bejar, testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, alleging that Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, had ignored warnings about the harmful effects of Instagram on teens for years. [470]

See also

Notes

  1. An "active user" is defined by Facebook as a user who has visited the website in the last 30 days.
  2. This value is from an investment document. The date is from when the document was revealed to the public, not the actual date that the website reached this many users.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Feed (Facebook)</span> Feature of the social network Facebook

Facebook's Feed, formerly known as the News Feed, is a web feed feature for the social network. The feed is the primary system through which users are exposed to content posted on the network. Feed highlights information that includes profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates. Using a proprietary method, Facebook selects a handful of updates to show users every time they visit their feed, out of an average of 2,000 updates they can potentially receive. Over two billion people use Facebook every month, making the network's Feed the most viewed and most influential aspect of the news industry. The feature, introduced in 2006, was renamed "Feed" in 2022.

Facebook Stories are short user-generated photo or video collections that can be uploaded to the user's Facebook. Facebook Stories were created on March 28, 2017. They are considered a second news feed for the social media website. It is focused around Facebook's in-app camera which allows users to add fun filters and Snapchat-like lenses to their content as well as add visual geolocation tags to their photos and videos. The content is able to be posted publicly on the Facebook app for only 24 hours or can be sent as a direct message to a Facebook friend.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Meta Platforms</span> American multinational technology conglomerate

Meta Platforms, Inc., doing business as Meta, and formerly named Facebook, Inc., and TheFacebook, Inc., is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns and operates Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp, among other products and services. It is considered one of the Big Five American information technology companies, alongside Google's parent company Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.

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