Facebook: From Harvard dorm to global phenomenon | Tech/Gadgets
SAN FRANCISCO, May 17 – Major chapters in the history of Facebook, the world’s largest social media application, mark the tenth anniversary tomorrow of its stock market debut.
In the beginning
In 2003, 19-year-old Harvard computer whiz Mark Zuckerberg began working outside his dormitory room on an online network aimed primarily at connecting Harvard students.
The following year he launched facebook.com with three Harvard roommates and classmates: Chris Hughes, Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz.
While opening up membership at other colleges around North America Zuckerberg quit his studies and moved to Silicon Valley.
The new company received its first investment from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, spending US $ 500,000, and officially changed its name to Facebook in 2005.
Not for sale
In 2006, U.S. media conglomerate Viacom and Yahoo made separate games for Facebook, but both were rejected.
Microsoft took a US $ 240 million stake in the company a year ago, where Facebook has 50 million users.
That year saw Zuckerberg admit to privacy -related “mistakes” for the first time, on an ad platform called Beacon that tracks purchases made by Facebook members and notifies their friends if what they buy.
In 2008, the platform toppled MySpace to become the most popular social networking website in the world and launched the first mobile app the following year.
David Fincher’s Facebook origin story, “The Social Network,” hit theaters in 2010 and won Oscars for best-adapted screenplay, original score and film editing.
Time magazine that year named Zuckerberg Person of the Year for “changing the way we live each day.”
As membership rockets, Facebook has a growing role in shaping public debate.
In 2011, the platform played an important role in giving a voice to the frustrated Arab youth of the Arab Spring in the uprisings that began that year in Tunisia.
Entering the stock market
In 2012, Facebook acquired photo-sharing app Instagram for US $ 1 billion and files for initial public offering.
The largest IPO since the tech sector raised about US $ 16 billion and valued the company at US $ 104 billion.
A hoodie wearing Zuckerberg remotely rang the Nasdaq bell from Facebook’s California headquarters on the first day of trading.
By October 2012, Facebook membership had grown to one billion.
Social media conglomerate
In 2014, Facebook paid a small amount to try to boost the popularity of young smartphone users by buying the messaging platform WhatsApp in a cash and stock deal worth US $ 19 billion.
As it continued to grow around the world, it moved to Frank Gehry’s newly designed headquarters in Silicon Valley, with a roof park and “the largest open floor plan in the world.”
Slaughter of Congress
In 2016, Facebook was embroiled in controversy over its alleged use of Russia and other social media platforms to try to influence the election result that brought Donald Trump to the White House.
In 2018, Facebook is once again at the center of the scandal after it emerged that British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica secretly harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users and used it for political purposes, including trying to rally support for Trump.
Zuckerberg was fired by the U.S. Congress for Facebook’s handling of user data and the way the network was manipulated to undermine democracy.
The Facebook chief promised to do more to combat fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech and tighten data privacy.
From Facebook to Meta
In 2021, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had changed the company’s name to Meta – Greek for “beyond” but also means metaverse – the virtual world he sees as representing the future of the internet.
On February 3, 2022, the company’s share price plummeted, removing more than US $ 200 billion from its market value after warning of a slowdown in revenue growth.
While young users are more likely to leave it for the likes of TikTok or Snapchat, the company admits to losing a million active daily users. But with 1.96 billion users, a quarter of the world population remains the largest social media platform. – AFP