Facebook is the most popular social networking website with some 2000,000,000 users. This means that if Face book were a city it would be the third largest in the world after China and India.

Facebook was invented in 2004 by 19 year-old Harvard computer science student Mark Zuckerberg, along with three of his classmates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes whose sole aim was not only to keep in touch over the Internet, but to enable website visitors to compare two student photos side-by-side and let viewers decide who was “hot” and who was “not”- a type of “hot or not” game for Harvard students-an idea that was perhaps inspired by Zuckerberg’s sophomoric sense of humor. Initially, the website was invented for Harvard student, by the end of the following year it was also open to high schools. The year after that it was opened to the general Internet public, as long as you were 13 and older.

The original name for Facebook was Facemash which was opened on October 28, 2003. Mark Zuckerberg was a second year student, when he wrote the software for the Facemash website. That night, Zuckerberg wrote the following blog entries:

I’m a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10 pm and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland dormitory facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.—9:48 pm

Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals…), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.—11:09 pm
Let the hacking begin.—12:58 am

Facemash used photos compiled from the online face books of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the ‘hotter’ person. To accomplish this, Mark Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s security network and copied the student ID images used by dormitories and used them to populate his Facemash website.

The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers. However, the website was shut down by Harvard executives a few days after it opened. Mark Zuckerberg faced charges of violating copyrights, breach of security, and violating individual privacy for stealing the student pictures that he used to populate the website. He later faced expulsion from Harvard University for his actions. However, all the charges were eventually dropped.

On February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg relaunched with a new website “The facebook”. Six days later, Mark Zuckerberg again faced trouble when three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accused Zuckerberg of stealing their ideas for an intended social network website called HarvardConnection.com, and of using their ideas for The Facebook. Winklevoss, Winklevoss, and Narendra later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, however, the matter was settled out of court.

Zuckerberg enlisted a few of his fellow students to help grow the website: Eduardo Saverin worked on business, Dustin Moskovitz as a programmer, Andrew McCollum as a graphic artist, and Chris Hughes. In March 2004. together the team expanded the site to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale, and to most universities in Canada and the United States.

In 2004, an angel investor, Sean Parker (founder of Napster) who had been informally advising Zuckerberg, became the company’s president. June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California. The company changed the name from The Facebook to just Facebook after purchasing the domain name facebook.com in 2005 for $200,000.

Today, Facebook has investors including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Accel Partners, and Greylock Partners. In 2007 Microsoft jumped in and invested $246 million for a 1.6% share in Facebook. The next month Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing made a large investment too. Yahoo! and Google both offered to buy Facebook, but Mark Zuckerberg says that Facebook’s not for sale.

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