Here’s a timeline of the highs and lows. From big buyouts, to data controversies, it’s been a bit rocky but Facebook is 15 years old and still the centre of most peoples world.
Facebook has had a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows in its 15-year history, with big acquisitions among its good days and data scandals amid the bad.
Here is a rundown of the social network’s most notable moments:
– The launch
Facebook first launched on February 4, 2004 as a social network known as TheFacebook. It was initially aimed at students at Harvard College, before gradually expanding to other universities across the US.
In 2005, The was dropped from the name. This paved the way for facebook.com and by September 2006 the site was opened up to anyone aged 13 or over.
– Stolen idea accusations
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg found himself accused of stealing the idea of fellow Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra. They claimed that Zuckerberg was meant to help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.
A lawsuit was filed against Zuckerberg, resulting in a settlement in 2008. This was was dramatised in the movie The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg.
– Facebook goes public
In May 2012, Facebook went public, marking one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) in US history.
The company announced 421,233,615 shares priced at 38 dollars per share, though the first day of trading experienced some technical issues that prevented some orders from going through.
– Instagram buyout
Facebook successfully purchased rival social network Instagram in April 2012 for one billion dollars.
Instagram has been kept largely independent, though parts of it have been integrated with Facebook, such as the ability to share photos on Facebook too, as well as Stories.
– WhatsApp acquisition
Facebook continued its acquisition spree in 2014, buying out messaging app WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars.
Like Instagram, the app has remained separate, with some parts able to link up to the main Facebook social network.
Facebook made yet another deal in 2014, taking over virtual reality startup Oculus VR, for two billion dollars, as the company looked to expand its tech footprint beyond social media.
– Mood influencing study
One of Facebook’s earlier controversies came in 2014, when it emerged that a mood influence study was carried out on the News Feed.
The posts that appeared on the home page of 689,000 users were filtered. Though Facebook said the experiment was to understand how people respond to different types of content, whether it is positive or negative in tone.
– Hitting one billion users
In August 2015, Facebook announced that it had hit a new milestone, with one billion users accessing the service in a single day.