Since 2004, the social network has evolved from a student project into a political power, and its inventor and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is coping with it by implementing radical modifications.
Facebook’s birthday is February 4, so now is a wonderful time to reflect on the company’s beginnings!
Millions of people use it every day, it draws a rising number of controversies year after year, and its main guy surprises everyone with drastic changes every day. But what do we truly know about Facebook and its president, Mark Zuckerberg, who has left his imprint on our lives in recent years? Let’s have a look at the history of this well-known social network, which was launched in 2004.
The Facebook success narrative is a frequent one in Silicon Valley. It all started with a Harvard University student concept and evolved into one of the world’s most prominent social networks. Whether we liked it or not, Facebook made Mark Zuckerberg a modern-day techno icon and exposed many to the notion of a company that can change the laws of the game.
Meta – the company that owns all major social networks today, is worth about 397.89 billion and is used by about 2.93 billion monthly active users.
The genesis of Facebook begins at Harvard in February 2004, at the Kirkland House dorm, where Mark Zuckerberg was living and studying at the time. If we want to go all the way back to the beginning of the story, we need to recall Facemash, Zuckerberg’s initial social network prototype from a year prior. It was a basic social network where Harvard students could assess the images of their friends.
On his page, the young Zuckerberg utilized images of his colleagues from the admin server. Facemash quickly proved popular, receiving over 22,000 views from 450 visitors in the first four hours of operation.
After a few days, Zuckerberg was forced to take down the site due to, quote, “security and copyright issues,” and as a result of the ensuing mayhem, he was issued a severe warning. Despite the event, Harvard’s administration determined that the gifted young computer scientist would continue his studies.
Undaunted, Zuckerberg established TheFacebook on February 4, 2004, which, in addition to a similar name, has other ties to Facebook as we know it today. TheFacebook was built for Harvard students to observe who attends their group, find new friends, and visualize their social network via a proto-social network.
Six days after launching the site, Zuckerberg was called on the door by three older students who said he had accepted the responsibility of establishing a site based on their ideas and that he had built Facebook as a result of their notion. To put it another way, they alleged that young Mark stole their idea.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, as well as Divya Narendra, accused Zuckerberg of duping them, saying he promised to construct Harvard Connection.com for them just days before leaving to launch his own social network.
We’ll leave it to you to decide if they were correct or not, but remember that in 2008, after many years of judicial battling, they received a settlement from Zuckerberg and 1.2 million shares of Facebook.
The Facebook had grown to additional colleges by the end of March 2004. Students from Yale, Columbia, and Stanford were utilizing it in addition to Harvard students.
When Mark Zuckerberg realized he could no longer operate Facebook alone, he pulled in Dustin Moskovitz, Eduard Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes. They were meant to support him while he guided the site’s growth and methodical conversion into a functioning company.
The Facebook’s developers could show investors anything only a few months after the site’s debut. Although their Facebook was very different from the one we use today, there are clear similarities. In that time, several functions that we now regard to be the cornerstones of this social network, such “liking” and sharing content, were developed.
Soon after, in 2004, when the website was progressively made available to the whole public, Zuckerberg realized that a change was needed. Few computer whizzes actually operate their companies out of their dorm rooms. For the same reason that Bill Gates did before him, Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard.
Sean Parker, a co-founder of Napster, was chosen by Zuckerberg to serve as the company’s first president in mid-2004. Facebook had set up camp in Palo Alto, California, by June of that year, and their headquarters had the appearance of a party hall for college students rather than a genuine office for a developing business.
That being said, the appearance and the objective were not too dissimilar. Employees at Facebook frequently went out, sometimes even more than they worked.
The business attracted its first investors after relocating to a bigger office in Palo Alto. Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal, contributed a total of $500,000. Musk established Tesla and SpaceX, while Thiel later rose to fame as a venture capitalist.
The situation only got better after that. At the time, Facebook was expanding quite quickly, attracting a 13.7 million dollar investment. The website received its own News Feed in 2006. Users might utilize this functionality to track what their coworkers, friends, and family members are doing in real-time.
At this moment, Zuckerberg was acutely aware of how his social network was evolving into a player in international politics. The “Facebook protests,” like the one in Egypt, are the finest illustration of this. All politicians were aware of the power held by people who influence social networks as a result of the Egyptian revolt, which started in February 2011.
This was purportedly utilized afterward by international players like the “Russian Troll Farm” to subtly sway American votes and voters in many other nations.
Zuckerberg made the decision to promote his imagined world in which every region of the earth had access to the global network rather than getting involved in politics. Facebook at the time made it very apparent to everyone that it supported the equality of people of all sexual orientations.
In other words, Facebook grew to be virtually unstoppable, reaching a historic $5 billion public offering in 2012.
The corporation has acquired a number of promising companies alongside its fast expansion, including the photo-sharing site Instagram. Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.
Remember that there are already more than 2 billion users of the service globally. In addition to the apparent motivations for the purchase, Facebook also used it as a type of power play because it closely watches firms that may represent a danger to it.
The makers of the Oculus virtual reality headgear experienced the same thing. Particularly, Oculus was still a fledgling firm when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a “tiny” $2 billion. A bit better was the performance of the mobile messaging startup WhatsApp, which Zuckerberg acquired for $19 billion.
When WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum joined Facebook’s board of directors in February 2014, this acquisition was made, expanding the service’s user base to more than one billion daily users.
Despite Mark’s best efforts, the platform has evolved into a prime location for disinformation and social engineering, presenting propaganda as real news to the very people that Facebook had intended to serve in the beginning.
According to all accounts, Facebook has become a training ground for political manipulation and the extremely simple dissemination of hate speech, both of which several European Union countries have vehemently denounced.
Germany has even gone so far as to enact strict regulations that mandate Facebook to pay a substantial fine each time hate speech is posted online for longer than a day. For precisely this reason, the social network employs a big staff of live reviewers who will aid artificial intelligence in filtering out objectionable information.
Facebook was renamed Meta a few years ago precisely because of bad PR. Speculations and unexamined assumptions caused Facebook to drastically decline in popularity. Zuckerberg knew exactly what to do at this moment, and by renaming the company, he got the right shot. The features of the apps have only gotten better, while their popularity is getting stronger by day.
Despite all the challenges, Metaverse’s social networks are doing better today than ever before. Almost 3 billion people are registered to use the network in the first half of 2022.
Although Facebook is the originator of everything, young generations today favor Instagram, and many do business through it. Social networks are a source of income for many young people today, and life without them has become almost unimaginable.
We can only be grateful to Mark for the innovation he provided us because it is definitely the entry into a new era. Trends change from day to day, and we cannot know what will be popular in a few years. I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out – or maybe ask Mark Zuckerberg.
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