Timeline of Facebook
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"Facebook timeline" redirects here. For the Facebook feature unveiled in late 2011, see Facebook features § Timeline.
See also: History of Facebook
This is a timeline of Facebook.
|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
|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 WhatsApp, and fails to acquire Snapchat. The company's vision evolves to being a family of interconnected apps rather than a single standalone product, and this vision is explicitly articulated at the 2015 F8 conference.|
|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.|
|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.|
|2004||January||Creation||Mark Zuckerberg begins writing Facebook.|
|2004||January 11||Creation||Zuckerberg registers thefacebook.com domain.|
|2004||February 4||Creation||Zuckerberg launches Facebook as a Harvard-only social network.|
|2004||March||Userbase||Facebook expands to MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and Yale University.|
|2004||April 13||Financial/legal||Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin form Thefacebook.com LLC, a partnership|
|2004||June||Funding||Facebook receives its first investment from Peter Thiel for US$500,000.|
|2004||June||Financial/legal||Facebook incorporates into a new company, and Sean Parker (early employee of Napster) becomes its president.|
|2004||June||Physical location||Facebook moves its base of operations to Palo Alto, California.|
|2004||August||Product||To compete with growing campus-only service i2hub, Zuckerberg launches Wirehog. It is a precursor to Facebook Platform applications.|
|2004||September||Financial/legal||ConnectU files a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and other Facebook founders.|
|2004||December 30||Userbase||Facebook achieves its one millionth registered user.|
|2005||Early year||Userbase||Facebook adds international school networks|
|2005||May 26||Funding||Accel Partners invests $13 million into Facebook.|
|2005||July 19||Acquisition talks||News Corp acquires MySpace, spurring rumors about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company.|
|2005||August 23||Product||Facebook acquires Facebook.com domain for $200,000.|
|2005||September||Product||Facebook launches a high school version of the website.|
|2005||October||Product||Facebook launches its photos feature with no restrictions on storage (but without the ability to tag friends).|
|2005||December||Product||Facebook introduces the ability to tag friends in photos.|
|2006||unknown||Financial/legal||A leaked cash flow statement shows that Facebook had a net gain of $5.66 million for the 2005 fiscal year.|
|2006||March 28||Acquisition talks||A potential acquisition of Facebook is reportedly under negotiations, for $750 million first, then later $2 billion.|
|2006||September 5||Product||Facebook launches News Feed. 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.|
|2006||September 26||Userbase||Facebook is open to everyone aged 13 and over, and with a valid email address.|
|2007||May 24||Product||Facebook announces Facebook Platform for developers to build applications on top of Facebook's social graph.|
|2007||October 24||Funding||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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|2008||October||Physical location||Facebook sets up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.|
|2009||August||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook acquires FriendFeed.|
|2009||September||Financial/legal||Facebook claims that it has turned cash flow positive for the first time.|
|2009||September 10||Product||Facebook announces a feature whereby people can @-tag friends in their status updates and comments.|
|2009||September||Product||Facebook shuts down Beacon.|
|2010||February||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook acquires Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions.|
|2010||April 2||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook announces the acquisition of photo-sharing service called Divvy-shot for an undisclosed amount.|
|2010||April 19||Product||Facebook introduces Community Pages, which are Pages that are populated with articles from Wikipedia.|
|2010||April 21||Product||Facebook introduces Instant Personalization, starting with Microsoft Docs, Yelp, and Pandora. It also starts allowing external websites to embed the like button.|
|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.|
|2010||June||Financial/legal||Facebook employees sell shares of the company on SecondMarket at a company valuation of $11.5 billion. Facebook also announces the start of the Like button being available for comments.|
|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||Funding||$500 million is invested into Facebook for 1% of the company, placing its worth at $50 billion.|
|2011||February||Political activism||Facebook adds new "civil union" option for gay partnerships.|
|2011||February||Product||Facebook application and content aggregator Pixable estimates that Facebook will host 100 billion photos by summer 2011.|
|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+.|
|2011||July 6||Product||Facebook partners with Skype to add video chat and updates its website interface to make messaging more seamless.|
|2011||August 9, then October 19||Product||Facebook Messenger is launched for Android and IOS. October 19, 2011 update makes the app available to Blackberry os.|
|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.|
|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.|
|2011||September 15||Product||Facebook partners with Heroku for Facebook application development using the Facebook Platform.|
|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.|
|2011||October 10||Accessibility||Facebook launches iPad app.|
|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.|
|2012||April||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion.|
|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.|
|2012||October||Userbase||Facebook reaches 1 billion active users.|
|2013||January 15||Product||Facebook announces and begins rolling out Facebook Graph Search.|
|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).|
|2013||March 7||Product||Facebook announces major planned changes to the News Feed. However, it is later revealed that Facebook abandoned these changes after getting negative feedback from users.|
|2013||March 8||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook announces that they acquired the team from Storylane, but not the product itself.|
|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.|
|2013||April 15||Product||Facebook launches a new timeline.|
|2013||April–July||Product||Facebook launches Stickers, initially only for its iOS apps in April, but later expanding to its web version in July.|
|2013||June 12, then June 27||Product||Facebook announces support for hashtags, initially only for the web (June 12). Later (June 27), more functionality is added and hashtags are extended to the mobile site and apps.|
|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.|
|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.|
|2013||September 26||Product||Facebook begins letting people edit their posts and comments after publishing.|
|2013||September 29||Product||Facebook announces that it will begin rolling out Graph Search for posts and comments.|
|2013||November 13||Acquisition talks||A number of news outlets reports that Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion USD but was spurned.|
|2013||December 18||Financial/legal||Facebook, Zuckerberg, & banks face IPO lawsuit.|
|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.|
|2014||January 16||Product||Facebook launches Trending Topics for its web version in the US, UK, Canada, India, and Australia. This is based on feedback to a pilot version tested both on the web and mobile starting August 2013.|
|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. 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. Facebook Paper receives mixed reviews, and some commentators note its similarity with Flipboard.|
|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. The Pew Research Center releases a report about increasing Facebook usage by adults to mark the occasion. Many other commentators write articles about Facebook to honor the occasion.|
|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. On February 7, Facebook adds the ability to edit the Look Back videos.|
|2014||February 13||Political activism||Facebook opens up many new LGBTQ-friendly gender identity and pronoun options.|
|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. . 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. 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.|
|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. Later, on April 14, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is acquiring Titan Aerospace.|
|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.|
|2014||March 17||Product||Facebook's face recognition algorithm (DeepFace) reaches near-human accuracy in identifying faces.|
|2014||March 25||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook announces that it is acquiring Oculus VR, Inc., a leading virtual reality company. The amount is reported to be $2 billion in cash and stock.|
|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.|
|2014||April 24||Product||Facebook announces FB Newswire to help journalists find news news on its website.|
|2014||April 30||Product, accessibility||Facebook launches anonymous login so that people can use apps without giving them their data.|
|2014||June 18||Product (mobile-only)||Facebook releases Facebook Slingshot, an instant messaging software application for sharing photos and videos with friends, for Android and iOS devices.|
|2014||July 21||Product||Facebook launches Save, a read-it-later feature that allows users to save links, places, and media pages for later perusal.|
|2014||September 15 onward||Userbase/controversy||Facebook cracks down on the Facebook profiles of drag queens in San Francisco, asking them to switch to using their real names, and shutting down the accounts of those who refuse to comply. There is considerable pushback, including a planned protest at Facebook headquarters, that is delayed for a meeting with Facebook, but Facebook refuses to budge on its policy. Many people, particularly those in or sympathetic to the LGBTQ community, sign up for competing social network Ello, that does not enforce a real names policy, promises to remain "ad-free and porn-friendly", and aims to have a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech. On October 1, Facebook announced a clarification to its real name policy and said that drag queens could continue operating their accounts. The company clarified that people should use their authentic real-world names but need not use their legal names.|
|2014||October 6||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook officially completes the acquisition of WhatsApp, and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum agrees to match Mark Zuckerberg's $1 salary.|
|2014||October 23||Product||Facebook launches pseudonymous app Rooms, where Facebook users can create and participate in forums on any topic and do not need to use their real names. The forthcoming launch of the pap had been reported on October 7.|
|2014||October 31||Accessibility||Facebook creates a custom Tor link, making it easier for people to access Facebook anonymously in locations where it is censored.|
|2014||November 7||Product||Facebook makes it easy for people to unfollow friends and pages they've liked, both while viewing pages in the feed and while reviewing summaries of the most prolific contributors to their feed.|
|2014||December 8||Product||Facebook rolls out keyword search for all posts, part of Facebook Graph Search, to all US English users on desktop and using iPhones. It is cited as a potential competitor to Yelp and other product recommendation engines and also as a potential way to surface old, embarrassing posts by people.|
|2014||December 11||Outreach||Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds his second Q&A, open to the public, about Facebook, where he discusses the dislike button and Facebook's role in promoting viewpoint diversity, helping people share more, and facilitating social and political transparency.|
|2015||January 5||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook acquires Wit.ai, a Y Combinator startup founded 18 months ago to create an API for building voice-activated interfaces.|
|2015||January 8||Acquisitions by Facebook||Facebook acquires QuickFire Networks, a company that built a custom hardware and software platform for reducing video file sizes and upload times. The Wall Street Journal got the news earlier today, with confirmation later arriving on QuickFire’s site.|
|2015||January 16||Open sourcing||Facebook open sources the Torch library, containing some of its deep learning tools in machine learning, including new code that runs 23 times as fast for training convolutional neural networks as the fastest publicly available code until that time.|
|2015||January 20||Product||Facebook announces that it will show fewer hoaxes in the news feed, and mark items it identifies as potential hoaxes so that readers can view them more critically.|
|2015||March 17||Product||Facebook introduces a free friend-to-friend payment service within its Messenger app. This is touted by some tech journalists as potential competition for PayPal's Venmo service.|
|2015||March 25||Product||At the first day of the 2015 F8 conference (a conference for Facebook to make announcements about major product and service changes), the company makes a bunch of announcements, with the unifying theme being that the company wants to be an integrated bunch of apps, each fulfilling a somewhat different role. Currently, the company's leading apps include its main app, Messenger, and externally built and acquired apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp. Specific announcements include making Facebook Messenger more of a platform, a new real-time comments system, embeddable videos, spherical video, Parse for the Internet of Things, updates to ad exchange LiveRail, and analytics for apps.|
|2015||March 26||Open sourcing||Facebook releases its React native framework for building native apps as open source. This is announced on the second day of the F8 conference.|
|2015||March 31||Userbase, product||Facebook launches a feature called Scrapbook that allows parents to give their kids an official presence on Facebook even when they are too young to have their own accounts on the network by tagging them in photos. A Scrapbook can be owned by two people who have indicated to Facebook that they are in a relationship. When the kids grow old enough and get their own accounts, they can take over ownership of the Scrapbook and change the privacy settings thereof.|
|2015||April 22||Product||Facebook launches an Android app called Hello to instantly matches phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls to Facebook profiles to show information about the caller/callee, block calls from commonly blocked numbers, and search for businesses to call, with initial rollout in the United States, Brazil, and Nigeria. There is no corresponding iOS app, because iOS does not allow apps to interact with phone calls. Commentators compare Facebook Hello to the native Android dialer app and to TrueCaller, an app with crowdsourced data.|
|2015||April 28 (announcement), April 30 (closure)||Product, platform||Facebook announces that it is shutting down its friends data API, forcing developers to migrate to the Graph API. The company is also allowing for more granular control of data that users may share with apps.|
|2015||May 12||Product||Facebook launches "Instant Articles" for Publishers. Publishers who use Instant Articles can opt in to have some of their articles shown to mobile users inside Facebook's app itself, without users having to leave the app and visit the customer's website. Initial launch partners include BuzzFeed, the New York Times, National Geographic and six others. The article as displayed on Facebook mimics the article on the website in terms of layout, and Instant Articles allows for correct attribution and analytics with tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture, and Comscore, in addition to publishers benefiting from Facebook's own analytics. Publishers can choose to have only a subset of their content available as Instant Articles, and Facebook handles the porting of the article to the Instant Article format itself. BuzzFeed praised Facebook for complying with its requests for compatibility with analytics tracking, and said the process was very collaborative throughout. Load times are claimed to be ten times faster than the mobile web. Publishers can keep all the ad revenue if using their own ads, but Facebook gets a 30% cut if the ads are shown by Facebook.|
|2015||May 29||Product||Facebook confirms official support for GIFs. Autoplay settings for GIFs would be the same as those for videos: users who have video autoplay set to on (the default setting) will have GIFs autoplay when they scroll to the GIF in their news feed. Others can play the GIF manually by clicking the GIF button on the feed item with the GIF.|
|2015||June-August||Product||Facebook adds more features for pages to make it easier for businesses to use them. These include: allowing pages to display how quickly they respond to messages, allowing pages to send saved replies to messages, allowing pages to use private messages for customer support, and adding buy button integration to pages.|
|2015||June-July||Product||Facebook makes changes to its news feed algorithm in a few different directions. It relinquishes some control to users allowing them to dictate what they see first in the news feed. Also, it announces that it will start using information on how long people hover on a particular item in their news feed to gauge their level of interest in the item, in addition to the more explicit signals it currently uses (likes, comments, shares).|
|2015||August||Product||On August 5, Facebook launches live-streaming, initially restricted only to celebrities. Subsequently, on August 12, it announces that the feature will be made available to journalists and those with verified profiles.|
|2015||August 27||Userbase||Facebook announces that it has hit the milestone of 1 billion users accessing it on a single day.|
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