Timeline of Facebook

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This is a timeline of Facebook.

Major trends[edit]

Userbase[edit]

Time period Key developments at Facebook
January 2004-September 2006 Facebook gradually enlarges the set of people who are allowed to register, starting from Harvard University only in January 2004, then gradually expanding to more US universities, then moving to international student networks, and finally switching to open registration in September 2006: anybody who is at least 13 and has a valid email address can sign up.
September 2006 onward Even as Facebook's userbase keeps increasing, the eligibility requirements for Facebook remain largely the same. At some point, Facebook starts allowing people to register with either an email address or a mobile phone, thereby making it possible for people who do not have email addresses to register.

Product and accessibility[edit]

Time period Key developments at Facebook
2005 onward, but largely concentrated September 2006 - September 2009 Facebook develops some of the core social infrastructure that would come to define the user experience for many years to come, starting with photos and the ability to tag friends in them (October and December 2005), Facebook's News Feed (September 2006), and then proceeding to Facebook Platform in May 2007, an attempt to get developers to create applications for use within Facebook. The ability to @-tag friends in posts and comments is introduced in September 2009.
Concentrated 2009-2011 Facebook works on becoming the "social layer" of the web, with the (now deprecated) name Facebook Connect, that allows Facebook's like buttons to be displayed on external websites, and also allows them to use Facebook for logins.
Concentrated 2012 onward, with some early moves in 2010 and 2011 Facebook shifts attention to mobile phones. At the low end of the market, this includes initiatives such as Facebook Zero and Facebook for SIM. At the high end, this includes development and improvement of iOS and Android apps, as well as initiatives such as Facebook Home and Facebook Paper (the latter, in January 2014, is the first product of Facebook Creative Labs, Facebook's in-house initiative for small teams to work on standalone mobile apps). Facebook also acquires a number of mobile-focused companies, such as Instagram, and fails to acquire Snapchat.
Late 2011 onward Facebook reimagines some of its core infrastructure, replacing the profile and wall with the new Timeline, and replacing search with Facebook Graph Search. A plan to significantly redesign the News Feed, announced March 2013, is abandoned a few months later.
2013 onward Facebook moves more aggressively into Twitter territory: it launches support for hashtags and hashtag-based search, and also introduces trending topics.

Full timeline[edit]

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Event
2003 October 28 Prelude Mark Zuckerberg releases Facemash, the predecessor to Facebook. It is described as a Harvard University version of Hot or Not.[1]
2004 January Creation Mark Zuckerberg begins writing Facebook.[2]
2004 January 11 Creation Zuckerberg registers thefacebook.com domain.[3]
2004 February 4 Creation Zuckerberg launches Facebook as a Harvard-only social network.[4][5][6]
2004 March Userbase Facebook expands to MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and Yale University.[7]
2004 April 13 Financial/legal Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin form Thefacebook.com LLC, a partnership[8]
2004 June Financial/legal Facebook receives its first investment from Peter Thiel for US$500,000.[9]
2004 June Financial/legal Facebook incorporates into a new company, and Sean Parker (early employee of Napster) becomes its president.[10]
2004 June Physical location Facebook moves its base of operations to Palo Alto, California.[7]
2004 August Product To compete with growing campus-only service i2hub, Zuckerberg launches Wirehog. It is a precursor to Facebook Platform applications.[11]
2004 September Financial/legal ConnectU files a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and other Facebook founders.[8]
2004 December 30 Userbase Facebook achieves its one millionth registered user.[12]
2005 Early year Userbase Facebook adds international school networks[13]
2005 May 26 Financial/legal Accel Partners invests $13 million into Facebook.[8]
2005 July 19 Acquisition talks News Corp acquires MySpace, spurring rumors about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company.[14]
2005 August 23 Product Facebook acquires Facebook.com domain for $200,000.[8]
2005 September Userbase Facebook adds high school networks[13]
2005 October Product Facebook launches its photos feature with no restrictions on storage (but without the ability to tag friends).[15]
2005 December Product Facebook introduces the ability to tag friends in photos.[15]
2006 unknown Financial/legal A leaked cash flow statement shows that Facebook had a net loss of $3.63 million for the 2005 fiscal year.[16]
2006 March 28 Acquisition talks A potential acquisition of Facebook is reportedly under negotiations, for $750 million first, then later $2 billion.[17]
2006 September 5 Product Facebook launches News Feed.[18] The original news feed is an algorithmically generated and constantly refreshing summary of updates about the activities of one's friends. The concept is relatively new at the time, with Twitter having launched only a few months in advance.
2006 September Acquisition talks Facebook discusses with Yahoo! about the latter possibly acquiring the former, for $1 billion.[17]
2006 September Userbase Facebook launches a high school version of the website.[19]
2006 September 26 Userbase Facebook is open to everyone aged 13 and over, and with a valid email address.[20]
2007 May 24 Product Facebook announces Facebook Platform for developers to build applications on top of Facebook's social graph.[21][22]
2007 October 24 Financial/legal Microsoft announces that it will purchase a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion.[23]
2007 November 6 Product Facebook launches Facebook Beacon with 44 partner sites at the time of launch. Beacon is part of Facebook's advertisement system that sent data from external websites to Facebook, for the purpose of allowing targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends. Certain activities on partner sites were published to a user's News Feed.[24]
2008 June Financial/legal Facebook settles both lawsuits, ConnectU vs Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg et al. and intellectual property theft, Wayne Chang et al. over The Winklevoss Chang Group's Social Butterfly project. The settlement effectively had Facebook acquiring ConnectU for $20 million in cash and over $1.2 million in shares, valued at $45 million based on $15 billion company valuation.[25]
2008 August Financial/legal Employees reportedly privately sell their shares to venture capital firms, at a company valuation of between $3.75 billion to $5 billion.[26]
2008 October Physical location Facebook sets up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.[27]
2009 August Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook acquires FriendFeed.[28]
2009 September Financial/legal Facebook claims that it has turned cash flow positive for the first time.[29]
2009 September 10 Product Facebook announces a feature whereby people can @-tag friends in their status updates and comments.[30][31]
2009 September Product Facebook shuts down Beacon.
2010 February Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook acquires Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions.[32]
2010 April 2 Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook announces the acquisition of photo-sharing service called Divvy-shot for an undisclosed amount.[33]
2010 April 19 Product Facebook introduces Community Pages, which are Pages that are populated with articles from Wikipedia.[34]
2010 April 21 Product Facebook introduces Instant Personalization, starting with Microsoft Docs, Yelp, and Pandora.[35] It also starts allowing external websites to embed the like button.[36]
2010 May 18 Accessibility Facebook launches Facebook Zero, allowing for free access to a text-only version of Facebook's mobile website with some carriers.[37]
2010 June Financial/legal Facebook employees sell shares of the company on SecondMarket at a company valuation of $11.5 billion.[38] Facebook also announces the start of the Like button being available for comments.[39]
2010 October 1 Popular culture The Social Network, a film about the beginnings of Facebook directed by David Fincher is released. The film is met with widespread critical acclaim as well as commercial success; however, Mark Zuckerberg says that the film is a largely inaccurate account of what happened.
2011 January Financial/legal $500 million is invested into Facebook for 1% of the company, placing its worth at $50 billion.[40]
2011 February Political activism Facebook adds new "civil union" option for gay partnerships.[41]
2011 February Product Facebook application and content aggregator Pixable estimates that Facebook will host 100 billion photos by summer 2011.[42]
2011 June 28 Competition Google launches Google+, widely perceived as a competitor to Facebook. Commentators believe that Facebook's subsequent rapid release of new features and improvements may have in part been hastened due to competition from Google+.[43][44]
2011 July 6 Product Facebook partners with Skype to add video chat and updates its website interface to make messaging more seamless.[45][46]
2011 September, then November 30 Product Facebook increases the character limit for status update posts from 500 to 5,000 in September and to 63,206 on November 30.[44]
2011 September 14 Product Facebook allows people to subscribe to non-friends and to set the extent to which they receive updates from their existing friends and people they are subscribing to.[47]
2011 September 15 Product Facebook partners with Heroku for Facebook application development using the Facebook Platform.[48]
2011 September 22 Product Facebook launches new UI Timeline in F8 Convention.
2011 October 6 Accessibility Facebook for SIM, a client/server SIM application developed by international digital security company Gemalto that enables people to access Facebook using the SMS protocol on their mobile phones, without needing a data plan, is released in partnership with select carriers.[49]
2011 October 10 Accessibility Facebook launches iPad app.[50]
2011 December 21 Product Facebook login page changes due to Facebook Timeline addition.
2012 January 10 Product Facebook starts showing advertisements (called Featured Posts) in the news feed. The advertisements are generally for pages that one's Facebook friends have engaged with.[51][52]
2012 April Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion.[53]
2012 May Financial/legal Facebook IPO: Facebook goes public, negotiating a share price of $38 apiece, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.[54]
2012 October Userbase Facebook reaches 1 billion active users.[55]
2013 January 15 Product Facebook announces and begins rolling out Facebook Graph Search.[56]
2013 January 30, then April 9 Product Facebook rolls out detailed and fine-grained emoticons to express different actions and emotional states in one's status updates (experimental launch January 30, official launch with universal availability April 9).[57][58]
2013 March 7 Product Facebook announces major planned changes to the News Feed.[59] However, it is later revealed that Facebook abandoned these changes after getting negative feedback from users.[60]
2013 March 8 Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook announces that they acquired the team from Storylane, but not the product itself.[61]
2013 April 4, then April 12 Product (mobile-only) Facebook launches Facebook Home, a user interface layer for Android-compatible phones that provides a replacement home screen that makes it easier for users to browse and post.[62][63]
2013 April 15 Product Facebook launches a new timeline.
2013 April–July Product Facebook launches Stickers, initially only for its iOS apps in April,[64][65] but later expanding to its web version in July.[66]
2013 June 12, then June 27 Product Facebook announces support for hashtags, initially only for the web (June 12).[67][68] Later (June 27), more functionality is added and hashtags are extended to the mobile site and apps.[69]
2013 June 30 Political activism Zuckerberg joins 700 Facebook employees for the June 2013 Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration march in San Francisco, U.S. The 2013 Pride celebration was especially significant, as it followed a Supreme Court of the United States ruling that deemed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.[70][71]
2013 August 20 Userbase/accessibility Facebook launches Internet.org in collaboration with six cellphone companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm). Internet.org aims to bring affordable Internet access to everybody by increasing affordability, increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access.[72][73][74][75]
2013 September 26 Product Facebook begins letting people edit their posts and comments after publishing.[76][77]
2013 September 29 Product Facebook announces that it will begin rolling out Graph Search for posts and comments.[78][79]
2013 November 13 Acquisition talks A number of news outlets reports that Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion USD but was spurned.[80][81]
2013 December 18 Financial/legal Facebook, Zuckerberg, & banks face IPO lawsuit.[82]
2014 January 13 Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook acquires Branch Media, and it is announced that the team working on the startup will join Facebook to work on conversations products for Facebook that builds on similar ideas as Branch Media's products, while Branch Media's existing products will continue to operate separately. Facebook confirms that the acquisition is a talent acquisition.[83][84]
2014 January 16 Product Facebook launches Trending Topics for its web version in the US, UK, Canada, India, and Australia.[85][86] This is based on feedback to a pilot version tested both on the web and mobile starting August 2013.[87][88]
2014 January 30, then February 3 Product (mobile-only) On January 30, Facebook announces Facebook Paper, a separate iOS app that provides a newspaper-like or magazine-like experience for reading on the phone, scheduled for launch on February 3.[89] Facebook also announces Facebook Creative Labs, an intra-company effort to have separate teams working on separate mobile apps that specialize in different facets related to the Facebook experience, rather than trying to make changes to Facebook's main web version, mobile version, or its iOS and Android apps, and says that Facebook Paper is the first product of Facebook Creative Labs.[60][90][91] Facebook Paper receives mixed reviews, and some commentators note its similarity with Flipboard.[92][93]
2014 February 4 Milestone Facebook marks the ten-year anniversary of its launch (February 4, 2004), and Mark Zuckerberg writes a public post about why he is proud of Facebook so far.[94][95][96] The Pew Research Center releases a report about increasing Facebook usage by adults to mark the occasion.[97] Many other commentators write articles about Facebook to honor the occasion.[60][98][99][100]
2014 February 4–7 Product On February 4, on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Facebook introduces its Look Back feature that creates an automated video for each person looking back on the person's life as recorded on Facebook.[101] On February 7, Facebook adds the ability to edit the Look Back videos.[102]
2014 February 13 Political activism Facebook opens up many new LGBTQ-friendly gender identity and pronoun options.[103][104][105][106]
2014 February 19 Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook announces that it is acquiring the Sequoia Capital-backed multi-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $16 billion USD ($4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook shares) plus an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing. .[107][108][109][110][111][112] According to the announcement, WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, Facebook will continue developing Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum will join the Facebook Board of Directors.[107] On February 24, in a keynote address to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Zuckerberg says that the WhatsApp acquisition is part of the Internet.org vision.[113]
2014 March 3 Acquisitions by Facebook Rumors are circulated that Facebook is buying drone maker Titan Aerospace for $60 million. It is believed that the acquisition will help bolster Facebook's vision with Internet.org.[114][115] Later, on April 14, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is acquiring Titan Aerospace.[116]
2014 March 6 Product Facebook announces that it will begin rollout of a somewhat modified news feed. The changes are along the same lines as those announced in the planned revamp announced March 7, 2013 (that was halted), but are more minor and focused.[117][118][119]
2014 March 17 Product Facebook's face recognition algorithm (DeepFace) reaches near-human accuracy in identifying faces.[120][121]
2014 March 25 Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook announces that it is acquiring Oculus VR, Inc., a leading virtual reality company.[122][123] The amount is reported to be $2 billion in cash and stock.[124][125][126]
2014 March 27 Accessibility Facebook announces a Connectivity Lab as part of the Internet.org initiative, with the goal of bringing the Internet to everybody via drones, using acqhires from Ascenta.[127][128][129][130]

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