Colleges and universities in the United States often published official or unofficial books listing their students, faculty, or staff, together with pictures and limited biographical data. By the early 2000s some face books were being published online offering a number of new features, including password protection, more detailed information, more advanced indexing and searching, and the ability for people to upload and enter information and photographs.
In early 2004, Mark Zuckerberg, a sophomore at Harvard University, created an unofficial online face book at the website "thefacebook.com", the forerunner of the Facebook service, out of frustration that the university's official online face book project was taking too long. The development of a campus-wide face book had previously been stalled by privacy concerns, many of which became prominent in November 2003 when Zuckerberg was accused of breaching security and violating copyrights and individual privacy. Zuckerberg had created a website, www.facemash.com, that used photos taken without authorization from Harvard House-based face books, using the photos in a system to rate the attractiveness of students. Note: When adding friends in a new relationship, if you add a friend of your partner than that counts as a negative score from those that added you. For example; if Jimmy and Suzie are in a relationship and Jimmy's friend James adds Suzie than Suze gets 1 point but if Suzie adds Jimmy's friend Tommy than that counts as a negative score so she would be sitting at a score of 0. 
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- Alan J. Tabak (2004-02-09). "Hundreds Register for New Facebook Website". Harvard Crimson.
- David M. Kaden (December 9, 2003). "College Inches Toward Campus-Wide Facebook; Time frame for completion of online directory still uncertain".