Facebook began as a simple “fun” project by a then Sophmore at Harvard University by the name of Mark Zuckerberg in 2003. Writing a program called FaceMash, Zuckerberg intended the program to be a fun “Hot or Not” game, posting the pictures of two Harvard students and letting other students vote which was the more attractive.
Harvard administrators did not see the humor and not only shut down the site, but threatened to expel Zuckerberg. Charges were dropped but Zuckerberg persisted and created a student directory, which featured basic info and a photograph. Harvard liked the idea and stated that they would “get around to it”. Zuckerberg said he didn’t want to wait, that he could do it better and complete the site in about a week. Originally calling his product TheFacebook, it was put into action February 4, 2004.
Although the original Facebook was intended only for Harvard students, it was clear this was going to become much larger. Within 30 days, more than half of all Harvard students were registered. By March of 2004, Facebook had expanded to other colleges, such as Princeton and Yale. Later the company opened to all Ivy League schools and by the end of the year, Facebook was admitting just about every college campus.
The company moved to its own headquarters in Palo Alto, California. With some seed money from Paypal founder Peter Thiel, the company paid about $200,000 for the use of the Facebook.Com address, dropping the word “the” from the name.
In 2005, the site began to allow high school students to register. In 2006, the site was opened up to everyone 13 and older with a valid email address. The company also allowed business pages to advertise and promote their products and services that same year.
In 2007, Microsoft purchased a 1.6% stake in Facebook.
In 2008, Facebook opened their international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
In 2009, the company was cash flow positive for the first time.
For the week ending March 31, 2010, more people visited Facebook than Google for the first time.
In early 2011, the company moved their headquarters to Menlo Park, California. It was reported at this time that Facebook was dropping approximately 20,000 suspicious profiles each day to improve their cybersecurity measures.
On May 17, 2012, the company went public on the NASDAQ with stock symbol FB. The company makes most of its money via advertising that is shown in between posts on users timelines.
Facebook currently has over 200 billion users monthly as of 2017, and 900 million users worldwide.In recent years, the company has received criticism for the number of fake news sites, hate speech, and graphic violence allowed on site. The company has responded with a feedback/reporting system that many people feel is unfairly put into practice. The Facebook corporate office is located in Menlo Park, California.