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How the Social Media Giant Facebook invented - Journey of Facebook

Saransh Pandey

  • August 17, 2020
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    • In 2003, Zuckerberg was a second-year student at Harvard, when he took his first step towards Facebook by writing the software for a website called Facemash
    • On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg started a new website with the name the face

    Mark Zuckerberg was studying computer science at Harvard when he, along with his classmates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes came up with the idea of Facebook. It all started with a failed effort to get internet users to rate one another's photos which later went on to become the world's most popular social networking page. Facebook was initially built as a social media website which was built in order to connect Harvard students with one another. Later on, over a thousand people had registered, and it was only beginning. Later on, the social media website went on to become Facebook, and the site quickly went on to become one of the most significant social media companies in history. Today with over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook has become one of the most valuable companies in the world. 

    The Origin of Facebook: 

    After rejecting offers from two of the biggest tech companies in the world, Zuckerberg headed towards Harvard in 2002. He had very big plans in his mind. Zuckerberg was a student of psychology in Harvard, but at same time he also took plenty of computer science classes along with it. At first the choice of psychology seemed to be very confusing for a student who had his interest in coding. But the psychology part also helped him in designing Facebook which involved some knowledge of the human mind.  

    In 2003, Zuckerberg was a second-year student at Harvard, when he took his first step towards Facebook by writing the software for a website called Facemash. For designing Facemash he used his computer science skills to hack into the Harvard's security network, where he copied the student ID images used by the students and used the images on his new website. The people who visited the website could use Zuckerberg's site to compare photos of two student to determine who was "hot" and who was "not". The site received an 22k photo views within a few hours. 

    Zuckerberg was punished by the Harvard administration for his website and nearly escaped expulsion from the college altogether for his actions. On October 28, 2003, Facemash initially started and was closed a few days later by the Harvard authority. His website brought serious repercussions for him as Zuckerberg faced serious charges of breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Though after sometime all these charges against him were eventually dropped. But the foundation of Facebook had already been laid, Facemash provided the framework for what later went on to become Facebook. 

    An App for Harvard Students: 

    Harvard already had online “face books” at the time. The Harvard’s “face books” was an online directory that contained photos of students alongside some information about them. But Harvard didn’t have a single “face book” for all the students of Harvard university. This became the basis of idea for Zuckerberg who came up with the idea to create a common platform like “face book” for all Harvard university students. 

    On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg started a new website with the name thefacebook.com. His name was inspired from the same directories that were given to each Harvard university students to help them to get to know one another better. The site came with a profile where a person could upload a photo, share your interests, and connect with other people. Network visualization of your connections, was also provided by the website. Initially the membership to the website was only opened to Harvard students and people with a Harvard email address could only access the website. But within one month of its launch the website became famous among Harvard’s student and during the first month 50% of the college’s students had signed up to the website.  

    Later on, Zuckerberg persuaded a few of his fellow students to help him expand the website to more users. He was joined by Eduardo Saverin who worked on the business end, Dustin Moskovitz worked as a programmer, Andrew McCollum worked as the site's graphic artist and Chris Hughes became the de facto spokesperson. Together the team expanded the user base of the website to additional universities and colleges. 

    The controversy that surfaced: 

    Zuckerberg had previously worked with his seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra on a similar project like Facebook. But Zuckerberg later on quit the project to work on, Thefacebook. It was six days since the launch of his new website when he got into trouble again when the same Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra with whom he was working on a project, accused him of stealing their ideas for a social networking website called HarvardConnection which they were working on. These ex-collaborators alleged that they had approached Zuckerberg in order to ask his help in creating a social network for Harvard students called "HarvardConnection". According to them Zuckerberg had stolen their concept and ideas and they wanted recompensating from him. The trio later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg. Later the matter was settled out of court in 2008 and according to the settlement each of the trio received 1.2m shares in the Facebook company.  

    Facebook: The World's Most Popular Social Network: 

    Thefacebook went on to become an instant hit and by the end of 2004, membership was open to nearly all universities in the US and Canada. Later on, in June same year Zuckerberg moved the company’s operations to Palo Alto, California and he also succeeded in securing some important investment. One of the first investor was Co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, who invested $500,000. In 2005, Facebook received investments of $12.7m from Accel and $1m from the personal fortune of venture capitalist Jim Breyer. This attracted people's attention towards his company more. 

    In August 2005 the website name was changed to Facebook and the company bought facebook.com domain at cost of $200,000. In November same year Zuckerberg left his studies to fully dedicate himself to running his company, as a CEO rather than a programmer. The company now decided to expand its base beyond students. On September 2006 the platform went global and became open for everyone. In May 2007, Facebook started their Marketplace, here the user could post ads in order to sell their products and services. At the same time a Facebook Application Developer platform was launched that enabled the developers to create their own applications and games in association with Facebook. By the end of 2007 over 100,000 companies joined Facebook to launch pages related to their Businesses. 

    In 2008 Facebook came up with features such as Facebook Chat, People You May Know, Facebook Wall, and Facebook Connect released in the same year which added to its popularity. In December, 2009, Facebook achieved much greater success with 350m registered users and 132m unique monthly users. This made Facebook the most popular social platform in the world. In a short span of five years Facebook achieved a valuation of $41bn and became the 3rd largest web company in the US, after Google and Amazon. By this time Facebook had become a huge name and a globally used website. In 2012 the company was valued at $104bn, it was then when it made one of the major acquisitions of Instagram by spending $1bn. In February, 2014 Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19bn, this helped the company to access the young WhatsApps user base and their overseas users too. Facebook profits has eventually led Zuckerberg to become the world's youngest multi-billionaire. Today Facebook rules the internet and is world’s most popular social networking site. 

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