The Birth of a Giant

Facebook is the world’s favorite social networking site that allows its registered users to create their own profiles and upload photos and videos to interact with friends, family and colleagues. When it comes to business, it is also now widely used for social media marketing by marketing professionals because of its popularity, saturating the majority of consumers all throughout the globe.

But did you ever wonder how this giant company started and made it through the rough waters of the business world? Let’s break the ice, and discover how Facebook came to life and rule the worldwide social media, and learn something from its history.

On February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook. It was founded together with his fellow Harvard University student Eduardo Saverin and his college dorm mates. Back then, it was still called ‘TheFacebook.’ At first, the membership for the website had been restricted by its founders to Harvard students but was also eventually extended to other colleges in Boston.

Before launching Facebook, ‘Facemash’ was developed by Mark Zuckerberg himself when he was just in his second year in college, until he opened it in 2003. It started like a poll game for Harvard students, comparing two student pictures which he took from the school’s online student directory. Website visitors are prompted to vote who’s more attractive. A few days later, it was shut down by Harvard administration. Mark was charged with breach of security, violating copyrights and privacy. But, in the end, the charges were dropped.

Still immersed in his unexpected success of the website that he created, he ridiculed the institution on how it took about two years for Harvard University to create their online school directory. Mark was then allowed to work on a university website he named ‘TheFacebook.’ He presented the need for a ‘centralization’ which would provide increased convenience, functionality and unlock possibilities for future benefits – much more than being just a huge student database. On February 4, 2004, TheFacebook was born, a universal website that was intended to create a connection to people around Harvard and became an instant ‘hit’.

Just about few days after he launched the site, someone tried to stop his huge success when three Harvard University senior students, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, complained to ‘the Crimson’, that Mark stole their idea, saying he promised to help them out with their proposed social network creation called HarvardConnection.com before TheFacebook was launched. An investigation was administered by the newspaper body and in the end, the complaint filed against Mark was settled between both parties. He managed to overcome it and didn’t stop him continuing what he had started.

Membership was at first exclusive to Harvard University students only. In March 2004, TheFacebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia and Yale and even reached schools in the Boston area. And then, it gradually saturated almost all universities in the United States and Canada.

In June 2004, TheFacebook was ‘incorporated’, and an entrepreneur named Sean Parker became Zuckerberg’s informal adviser and eventually became the president of the company. They moved to Palo Alto, California, choosing it as its new operation base. After purchasing a new domain name, they dropped ‘The’ and changed the name to just ‘Facebook’ in 2005. Between September and December of 2005, Facebook achieved 6 million users and later expanded membership access to Microsoft and Apple Inc. employees. They also started to add more universities in Australia and New Zealand to their network. By August 26, 2008, users quickly grew to 100 million and continues to grow today.

Statistics for March 2017 (Facebook MAUs) says that there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users around the world, which is an 18 percent increase every year. Here in Australia, there are approximately 24.3 million people according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Population Clock. As of January 2017, Facebook users had gone up to 16 million — which is roughly about 65.84% of the Australian population.

Imagine what you could do with access to 16 million Australians?