With over 1.1 billion users worldwide, Facebook has become a regular habit for its users. On February 4, Facebook turns 10 years old and it is time to take a trip down memory lane. From his Harvard University dorm room, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook’s first version at the age of 20, and has changed the lives of many, as well as his own, since then.
In an interview with the Today Show, which will be aired on February 4 when Facebook turns 10 years old, Zuckerberg will take viewers on a trip down memory lane. “I remember it vividly, having pizza with my friends after I just launched the first version of Facebook. I always thought a service like Facebook was an incredibly important thing to have for the world, but I had never thought me and my friends would help do it.”
Originally called The Facebook, it was used by many Harvard students weeks after its launch, as well as students from Yale and Stanford only months later. After all, the initial purpose was for Facebook to be a national student network. In August 2005, less than a year after the first launch, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to pursue his Facebook dream. It was the best decision of his life. “The dynamic of managing people and running a business as a CEO is very different from being college roommates and spending time studying,” he says.
In 2006, Facebook became open for everyone 13 years or older with a valid email address and in early 2007 Facebook had reached 20 million users in North America. For Zuckerberg, this was only the beginning. Zuckerberg and his team launched translated versions of the website, resulting into 90 million users worldwide in July 2008. Improvements on Facebook, such as groups, events, photos and their Facebook API have been their focus since.
Facebook might be Zuckerberg’s goldmine, but it has also caused him many headaches. ConnectU, a similar social network with its roots in Harvard, claimed Zuckerberg had stolen the source code while working for them. The lawsuit was dismissed after Zuckerberg denied the allegations; however, it was previously uncovered by the Silicon Alley Insider that some complaints against Zuckerberg are valid and that he changed information in ConnectU’s system to make its platform less useful. In addition, Zuckerberg was suspected of using private login data from Facebook users to break into their private email accounts in 2004. A misuse of privacy information, but it is not the only occasion that Facebook has been criticized for misusing its users’ privacy.
In the past years, many Facebook users have shown their confusion toward Facebook’s privacy settings, which is often called tedious. Blake Barns, Facebook’s product manager for privacy, disagrees. “It is not about finding random privacy settings. It is about going to the specific information a user is concerned about and looking for the control next to it. With so many different features on Facebook, this is the only way privacy settings can be properly managed by the users.”
Headaches or not, Facebook still goes strong and expects to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a record quarter. Even though recently it was revealed that Facebook is less popular with teenagers, the social network continues to generate revenue and ads contribute to that greatly. In fact, revenue rose almost 50 percent to $ 2.4 billion in the fourth quarter. Doug Anmuth, analyst at JP Morgan, thinks mobile and video ads have been a big revenue drive. “Users are now more comfortable with video in the feed, including click-to-play ads, which we believe are doing well and will grow in the future.”
With Facebook turning 10 years old on Tuesday, many users will take a trip down memory lane, together with Zuckerberg. His interview with the Today Show will be aired on February 4.
By Diana Herst