10 ways Facebook changed the world in 10 years

By: February 4, 2014
The geeks shall inherit the earth The geeks shall inherit the earth

Facebook is 10 years old today. Launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes – ‘thefacebook’ (as it was called) had one million users by December 2004.

1: An early hit with college students and a generation of people under 35 who suddenly found global travel affordable, ‘thefacebook’ becomes Facebook.com in August 2005 when it bought the domain for $200k. Initially Facebook is a place where people share photos (of their travels) and updates with friends and family.

2: In September 2006 Facebook launches its ‘Newsfeed’ and by December of that year it has over 12 million users.

3: In May of 2007 it launches ‘Facebook Platform’ with 65 developers and 85 applications. Platform goes on to become the largest developer platform in the world. By December of that year it has over 58 million users.

4: Now much more than a photo sharing platform for young travelers, Facebook starts to show signs that it could become the dominant global platform for just about anything: films; music; breaking news; advertising and retail. In 2008 Facebook launches ‘Chat’, an instant messaging service for users and in December of that year opens its EMEA HQ in Dublin. It has 145 million users by year’s end.

5: In February 2009, Facebook introduces the ‘Like’ button, which quickly itself becomes a kind of currency for marketers and brands. By December of that year Facebook has 360 million users.

6: In 2010, Facebook ‘Places’, where users can share their location in real time, is launched. By year’s end the platform had 608 million users.

7: In August 2011, US President Barack Obama vists Facebook’s HQ in Palo Alto, California. A month later Facebook launches ‘Timeline’ and by December there are 845 million registered users.

8: 2012 is perhaps Facebook’s busiest year. In February it files for its first Initial Public Offering (IPO) and then in April it shocks the world by buying the mobile app Instagram for $1 billion in cash and shares. In May the company goes public and starts selling shares and by October it has reached the golden 1,000 million (one billion) user mark – a record for any media platform in history.

9: At the start of 2013, Facebook launches ‘Graph Search’, a product to challenge Google and provide users with precise answers to questions. Zuckerberg says he wants to take on Google and built the planet’s dominant search engine.

10: In February 2014, Facebook turns 10 years old. It launches Facebook ‘Paper’ an app that looks like a media mix of Twitter and Flipboard. Facebook.com now has over 1.1 billion active users, 680 million of which are mobile users. One out of 12 people on the planet has a Facebook profile; there are over 5,800 Facebook employees worldwide; there are 30 Facebook offices globally; and 57% of people say they talk more online than they do in real life. Facebook is the dominant global media platform and has changed the way the world communicates, learns, shares and does business.