Facebook was launched as the website “Thefacebook.com” by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 with the intention of connecting students at Harvard University. It’s initial success of immediate sign ups set the scene for what was to come. By 2005, Zuckerberg acquired the Facebook.com domain name and and had opened up the social networking website to many more colleges and high schools beyond the United States. The following year Facebook would open up to anyone above the age of 13.
In 2012, Facebook crossed the 1 billion user mark and launched its IPO, while also acquiring Instagram, a new photo-sharing app that was also being courted by Twitter. Facebook would later make acquisitions of WhatsApp and Oculus VR, while being rebuffed for attempting to acquire Snapchat.
During the 2010s, Facebook’s reputation would shift from a ‘cool’ startup that helped connect people to a corporate technology company mired in scandals from neglecting data privacy to operating an algorithm that favored fake news.
In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s change of name to Meta. While Facebook continues to experience user growth (despite a dip in Q2 2022), its focus is now on building the metaverse or as Meta puts it, building the next evolution in social technology.