2004 is the year that broadband replaced dial-up internet while mobile phones with color screens became popular.
But this year is also special for another reason and that is the establishment of Facebook.
Yes, on January 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg, an undergraduate student at Harvard University (he was 19 years old at the time), introduced a social media network called Milker the Facebook with his friends.
The social media network was named after the university’s student directory, known as Facebook, created at the start of the academic year.
In the same year, Internet search engine Yahoo unsuccessfully tried to buy Facebook for one billion dollars.
Over the next few years, Facebook became used by people around the world and became the world’s largest social media network, with more than 3 billion monthly users in 2024.
The idea of Facebook was mainly taken from an old project of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facemash.
FaceMash was a website that rated the faces of Harvard students in order of attractiveness.
For the photos used in the site, Mark Zuckerberg hacked the university’s security system and copied the photos of students’ ID cards without permission.
It was for this reason that the university shut down FaceMesh a few days later while disciplinary action was also taken against Mark Zuckerberg.
A few months later, Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues introduced a new networking site so that Harvard students could use their academic email addresses to keep in touch with their peers.
This social network became very popular and was soon used in educational institutions across the United States.
Within a year the number of users of this platform reached one million and in August 2005 it was renamed as Facebook.com.
By the end of 2006, Facebook was introduced to people around the world and the age requirement for being a part of it was 13 years and above.
In 2006, its user base was 1.2 million, which increased to 5 million in 2007 and 10 million by the end of 2008.
2012 was the year Facebook crossed the one billion user mark and its shares were offered for sale on the stock market, giving it a market value of $104 billion.
In the beginning, one share was worth 38 dollars and in 12 years, the share price of this company has increased almost 12 times to reach 474 dollars.
In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of the Facebook company to Meta.
The company currently owns apps like Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp, as well as several other products.
Facebook users compete with other platforms
With 3 billion monthly users, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform.
More than a third of the world’s population uses it, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp and Instagram at third and fourth.
This number is also surprising because Facebook is not available in China.
Which people use Facebook the most?
According to various reports, 25 to 34 year olds use Facebook the most, followed by 18 to 24 year olds, 35 to 44 year olds third and 45 to 54 year olds. The age group of people is at the fourth position.
Facing privacy issues
Facebook has faced numerous data privacy issues over the past 20 years.
One of them is the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018, in which a British company used the personal details of millions of Facebook users for political advertising without permission.
Even after that, the company faced several privacy data scandals and was fined several times.
On January 21, 2024, while attending a meeting of the US House Judiciary Committee, Mark Zuckerberg also apologized for the harm caused to children on his platform.
What are Meta’s plans now?
Despite all the opposition and youth disinterest, Meta’s revenue continues to grow.
During the quarter of October to December 2023, the company’s revenue was 40 billion dollars while the profit was 14 billion dollars.
Meta is investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the company is planning to develop its own AI chips.