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From A Harvard Dorm To 2.7 Bn Users: A Look At Facebook's 15-Year Journey

Back To The Start

Back To The Start

Social media giant Facebook turned 15 on Monday, at a time when the network has been facing flak for issues like fake news, manipulation, data leaks, privacy abuse, among others.

But despite the battles, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said he sees the network as a largely "positive" force for society.

In a post on the Facebook's 15th birthday, Zuckerberg shared the journey from his college dorm to present day. "It took about four years for 100 million people to connect, and less than a decade for 1 billion people to connect. Today, about 2.7 billion people are connected using the service," he elaborated.


Here's a look at the journey of what has now become the world's biggest social network.

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Agencies
2004 - 2005

2004 - 2005

Thefacebook.com, as it was initially known, was launched in 2004 to connect college students. Saying he wanted to establish a place where you could find people as the reason behind the idea for the site, co-founder Zuckerberg said, "At the time, it struck me that there were many websites to find almost anything -- books, music, news, information, businesses -- except for what actually matters most: people. So I built a simple website organised around people, where we could connect with the people we wanted and share what was important to us."

It all began with 'The Wall' - a place for users to post messages to their friends. And as the site's popularity grew, it introduced the 'Photos' feature a year later, giving users the option to add and share moments with their friends.

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Reuters
2006 - 2007

2006 - 2007

After making the site, that began in a dorm-room in Harvard, available to everyone in 2006 the company launched the News Feed to help users see what their friends are up to.

In 2007, Pages were introduced to give people a way to connect to the things they're interested in.

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Agencies
2009 - 2010

2009 - 2010

Facebook's expansion continued with the tech giant opening its first office in Asia-Pacific. The company set up shop in Sydney, Australia.

On the global front, the social network introduced the Groups feature to help people build communities. It also introduced the 'Like' button in the same year.

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Agencies
2011- 2012

2011- 2012

2011 saw the birth of the Timeline. Aimed to give users a new way to tell their story, the feature was an immediate success and continues to be a part of the social network even 8 years on.

The Safety Check feature was also introduced this year. During the Great East Japan Earthquake, a Japanese Facebook engineer saw what was happening and wanted to find a way to help - hence giving birth to the idea for the feature.
By this time, over 1 billion people were connecting through Facebook every month.

And to make it easier for its users to connect on the go, facebook introduced 'Messenger' - a standalone chatting app.

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AFP
2013

2013

In 2013 just before Facebook was about to turn 10, Zuckerberg had a vision of a global Internet. The tech titan wanted to connect the two-thirds of the world that was not online yet - and towards that aim, he wanted to launch Internet.org.

However, even though he said the idea was aimed at a greater good and not for earning profits, the world - that had fallen in love Facebook - didn't agree with his second idea, saying it ran counter to net neutrality.

But despite making Internet.org among his top priorities for nearly three years, complete with advertisements, videos, and time - ranging from forums at the Mobile World Congress to visits to India and Africa, and even appearing before the UN General Assembly - Zuckerberg didn't manage to convince the world. Facebook eventually changed the app’s name to Free Basics, but it was more than a name game, and not much came out of that either.

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Agencies
2014 - 2016

2014 - 2016

Adding to the tech giant's growth, WhatsApp joined Facebook in 2014. In the same year, the company joined the Virtual Reality race with 'Oculus'.On the sideline, the network continued to innovate and introduced 'Facebook Live' as a way to bring people together through real-time video.

2016 was the year Facebook went beyond its popular 'Like' feature, and cashed in on the growing emoji trend, with the introduction of 'Reactions'. The new feature gave users more ways to show how they felt about about posts.As the community grew, it went from being just a place to connect to being a place of business with 'Marketplace'. The feature allowed users to buy and sell products on the site. In a bid to capture a more diverse market, Facebook also launched 'Fundraisers' - a means to let people raise money for causes they care about.

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Agencies
2017 - 2018

2017 - 2018

By 2017, Facebook, with over 2 billion users, had a new mission - to focus on bring the world closer together.


Also understanding the growing demand for video content, Facebook introduced 'Watch' - a feature dedicated solely to videos.

By 2018, it had joined Google and Apple in the hardware race with the launch of Portal - a smart display designed primarily for video calling.

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AFP
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