What Is Facebook’s History? Here Is How Mark Zuckerberg Started The Company
Facebook (www.facebook.com) was launched in February 2004 as a social network by Mark Zuckerberg and Harvard classmates. Within five years it surpassed MySpace as the leading social network website. At first the site was called “The Facebook” and was created for Harvard students to communicate with each other. It was then expanded to other Ivy League universities. The response was strong, so the site expanded membership to more mainstream schools and colleges. From there Zuckerberg opened up the floodgates to the public and the site’s user base grew exponentially.
Zuckerberg’s first attempt at a social network for friends was called Facemash, in which wrote the code in October 2003. At the time Facemash was mainly a photo contest that allowed Harvard users to vote on who had the hotter photo in face to face competitions. Zuckerberg acquired these photos by hacking Harvard’s network. He was warned but not punished as Facemash was shut down by the university within a few days. It led to an article in the student newspaper The Crimson that inspired Zuckerberg to create a new site in January 2004 called The Facebook. He launched the site a month later.
About a week after the launch Zuckerberg was accused by three Harvard students of using their ideas that were supposed to be for a social network site called Harvard Connection. These three seniors went on to sue and settle with Zuckerberg after Facebook became widely popular. The concept of the social network already existed with Friendster, another one of Zuckerberg’s influences.
Within a year the site changed its name to Facebook after a suggestion from Sean Parker, who became President of Facebook in 2004. Parker had gained national attention five years earlier as a co- founder of Napster, which changed the course of the music business, allowing people to download music for free. Although the service was shut down for violating copyright laws, Parker had become wealthy and had developed a reputation as a game changer.
By June of 2004 Facebook operations moved to the West Coast in Palo Alto. Parker persuaded Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, to make a big investment in the company, which was set up that year as a private corporation. In September 2005 Facebook introduced its high school platform to complement its established service for Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, MIT and other prestigious universities. Then Facebook expanded its service to tech companies like Microsoft and Apple.