It's exactly 10 years since Mark Zuckerberg launched Thefacebook.com in his Harvard dorm

Facebook celebrates 10 years of social networking

Facebook is celebrating its 10th birthday today, just a week after reporting record revenues of $2.5bn from 750 million daily users.

What started out as a project in Harvard psychology student Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm in 2004 has become one of the greatest internet success stories of all time attracting millions of people who use it to communicate with friends, post updates on their life, share photographs, change their relationship status, or to simply click 'like'.

Thefacebook.com, as it was originally called, proved an instant hit by allowing Harvard undergraduates to create basic online profiles and display personal information and photos and within a month more than half of the student population had an account.

Soon after the social network started its expansion to other colleges and universities across America and by the end of 2004 young technology mogul Zuckerberg and the early Facebook founders decided to move their headquarters to the sunny climes of California and began developing the site after catching the eye of a number of wealthy investors.

Facebook.com was purchased in August 2005 and the following month US high schools were allowed to sign up. Registration limits were scrapped in September 2006, and by June 2009 the company overtook Myspace as the leading online social network in the US. As of January 2014, the company has about 1.2 billion monthly users.

Lengthy legal battles over the intellectual property behind the site have marred its relatively short lifespan, immortalised on-screen in the 2010 release of The Social Network.

New features such as the introduction of the like and poke buttons in 2009 and its highly popular newsfeed dramatically changed the nature of the site but also led to complaints about its privacy policy.

Facebook later went on to admit it had violated users' privacy by getting people to share more information than they agreed to before settling in court and making its policy more clear.

Warwick Business School assistant professor of Information Systems, Dr Markos Zachariadis, has researched the company and looks into innovation in social networks, and said Facebook is "now much more than a place to 'upload pics'".

But he said the site could be in danger of another network coming along and threatening its current position.

"It is the largest social network in the world, but many are questioning whether it will survive another 10 years,” he said.

“Another innovation and network may come along to threaten its dominant position in the market, but Facebook is in a good position to expand and grow further, thus creating a strong 'network effect' and adding new services to keep users engaged."

Dr Zachariadis added: "Security and privacy are two of the most important elements for the success of social networking sites in the near future.

"Who has access to our digital footprint and the data that we generate throughout our interaction with social platforms are important issues most networks will need to address based on local laws and international regulations."

 

Further information

Two Facebook infographics, courtesy of Mobiles.co.uk. Click either image to see the infographic in full - one covers the rise of Facebook, the other considers the future of Facebook.

 

Facebook timeline

 

Facebook future

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