The history of Face – the beginnings

The first model of Facebook was called Facemash and was created by second year Harvard student Mark Zukerberg and three other students in October 2008.  Facemash was set up as a game for Harvard students to compare and vote on pictures of female students on who was ‘hot’ or ‘not’.  To show Marks state of mind, he wanted to compare student pictures with pictures of animals.  Mark hacked into Harvard’s security network and copied student images from nine Houses to populate his Facemash website.

Within four hours of Facemash being online, 450 students viewed 22,000 photos. Harvard shut down the website a few days later.   Mark later blogged he was a jerk for making the website

For an art history final, Mark created a social study tool and uploaded 500 Augustan images to a website, one image per page with a section for other to comment.  His classmates soon started sharing their notes on the website.  Facemash was later sold for $30, 201.

Inspired by Facemash, Mark created ‘Thefacebook’ in February, 2004.  He wanted to create a universal website to communicate for Harvard University.  Within 24 hours of the website going on line, it had between 1,200 and 1,500 students registered.  Mark was accused of using an idea from three senior Harvard students and creating a similar website they asked Mark to help them build.

Membership was originally for Harvard students only.  Within the first month more than half the students were registered on ‘Thefacebook’.  Mark signed up others to promote the website.  In March 2004, Facebook expanded to other Universities, gradually expanding to Parker to become Facebook’s president and moved to California.  In 2005 ‘Thefacebook’ became ‘Facebook’.  Facebook is one of the fastest growing companies in history as well as being an essential part of social life for both teenagers and adults. Facebook is also influential in political protests.


Kirkpatrick, D 2010, the Facebook effect, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York.

Phillips, S ‘A brief history of Facebook’, The Guardian, 25th July 2007, retrieved from internet,


Facebook History – A brief history of the Facebook site

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story Part 1

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story Part 2

A brief history of Facebook

Winklevoss Twins – Facebook was our idea – Tyler & Cameron


As Facebook was in the beginning just geographically located in the Ivy League Universities on the East coast of America its adoption to now having more than 955 million active users worldwide it shows a pretty substantial growth rate since its move to making it accessible to anyone aged 13 and over with a valid email address in September 2006.

From once being used by university students to now being used by people of all ages and backgrounds, and even a marketplace for businesses and musicians to advertise music, goods and services.  Facebook now seems to be integrated into society with the majority of people online and posting regularly.

“Research done by Daniel Holder suggests that Facebook reinforces existing relationships more than expanding the creation of new relationships. This makes sense as Facebook provides a cheap way of keeping up with friends. He found that Facebook appears to shape the way in which people view their social relationships.”

I think what puts Facebook above the rest is its broad range of interactivity, there is plenty of things to do on Facebook; look at photos, videos, look at business pages, play games, poke hot girls, and did I mention be connected with nearly a billion people worldwide?

People generally start off using Facebook not so regularly but as their network grows then generally so does their Facebook usage, the more friends you get, the more friends you talk to and interact with.

“I realized that Facebook isn’t just a social network; Facebook is actually a society in and of itself. There is only one rule in this society: complete transparency. When you become a member, you agree to broadcast all kinds of information about yourself with the understanding that anyone who knows you will receive it. Anything you do within the confines of this society is fair game, and further, you’re encouraged to share what you’re doing outside of the society as well.”[i]


The growth of Facebook

With the current number of people signed up to Facebook ranging within the 900 million mark, and with the one billion mark in sight, the company is in pretty good shape to handle this week’s upcoming IPO. But while we talk about how many are on the site and how many more people will join, we tend to forget that this success didn’t happen overnight, it took a lot of planning and work for the social media giant to reach this point.

On the question on what are some of the decisions taken by the “Growth team” at Facebook that helped Facebook reach almost a one billion users?” was posted to Product Manager Andy Johns and he provides a detailed response.

While tactics and planning was important to Facebook success and is part of any successful company out there, it was the site’s atmosphere and priorities that made such growth possible. Johns says that the team grew to 30 – 40 people and everything functioned around ‘decisions’, which revolved around tactics, strategy, hiring and priorities and culture.

The greatest factor, in Johns’ opinion, in increasing the number of users on the site was making the site available in as many languages as possible. The reasons behind this is obvious, but Johns says that “Growth was not about hiring 10 people per country and putting them in the 20 most important countries and expecting it to grow. Growth was about engineer systems of scale and enabling our users to grow the product for us.” Building the international growth side of the team and then scaling it was vital to this growth, which the video below explains.

Also, there were two main features in the office to keep people focused on the task at hand: the first was displaying flags of different nations which not only represented the company’s international workforce, but the global audience it targeted. The second was numerous banners designed to encourage the team to work as hard as possible. Johns mentions two specific signs that hung above the growth team: The first sign read “Go Big Or Go Home” and had a picture of Godzilla next to it (that, according to Johns, made it more awesome) while the other read “Up And To The Right.” That along with many other motivational messages were scattered throughout the office to help motivate the different teams.

Team leader Chamath Palihapitiya says that the key to understanding how growth works can be broken down into two things: The first is a fundamental understanding of your product and knowing why people use it. The second is creating a simple framework for doing your work as making it complicated only makes things harder for yourself.