10 years of Facebook milestones – a look back

So this is the week we’ve all been busy checking out our Facebook Lookbacks – the nostalgic videos and photo montages lovingly created by those at Facebook HQ to celebrate the company’s tenth birthday on Tuesday. So, just in case you’ve missed the celebrations here are Facebook’s 10 years of milestones

February 4, 2004

Facebook is launched initially as a social network for students at Harvard University by one of its own students – a young Mark Zuckerberg. Within a month the service is opened up to other colleges and universities after its initial success at Harvard and within four months the set-up has moved into its own headquarters in Palo Alto in California. Seven months on the Wall is launched allowing people to write on profile pages.


The growth continues as the network expands beyond colleges and universities to now include high schools too. More importantly however the Photos function is launched – allowing all those drunken moments and holiday snaps to be shared with friends whether they want to see them or not.


Two years after launch the network expands beyond educational networks, allowing those with corporate email addresses as well as simply students to join. Later in the year accessbility is opened up further and News Feed, which collates the Wall posts of friends so you can see what they are thinking, eating or doing, all in one place, is launched. The year also sees the launch of Facebook for Mobile.


Three years after launch Facebook is getting more commercially focused. The launch of Platform – allowing outsider developers create for the network – fuels a new growth that later in the year earns it $240 million from the sale of a 1.6% stake to Microsoft


As the network and its intentions to grow continue Facebook lures a new recruit from Google appointing Sheryl Sandberg as its chief operating officer. Later in the year it launches its Chat function on the site allowing users to interact privately as well as on their Wall.


One of the most liked functions of Facebook comes with the launch of the Like button – itself the result of a hackathon – and allowing endorsement of your posts from friends, family and other randoms in your network. By summer Facebook has proved so popular it outpaces Myspace, previously the leading online social network in the US.


This year saw the launch of that feature that everyone hates when their friends are off sunning themselves somewhere exotic and they are stuck at home – the launch of the Location feature.


The launch of Timeline provides a summary of a user’s time on Facebook. The new version of the profile page is an update on that which simply showed recent posts. The company also completes another head office move – this time to Hacker Way in Menlo Park, California in the same year that privacy issues hit the network yet again.


Facebook takes to the market with the announcement of a planned IPO and ramps up in seriousness as it heads towards it with plans to buy Instagram for $1 billion (a deal that completes five months later) and the ability for ads to mingle on user’s pages in amongst Facebook status updates and pictures. By May the IPO has completed but panics about the sustainability of Facebook sends the previously inflated share price falling within a week of tie IPO. The network now has 1 billion active users.


In an attempt to make Facebook more visible on user’s Android phones Facebook launches Facebook Home which brings Facebook content to the homescreen but the new solution fails to capture user’s imaginations.


January sees the launch of trending topics – similar to the same feature on Twitter – allowing users to see the most popular topics of the moment and Paper, a new app from the network. More importantly it also sees the tenth birthday celebrations – alongside the promise from Zuckerberg that the first ten years have just been the foundations with a promise to “solve even bigger and more important problems.”

How do you think Facebook and social media will change to change our lives in the next ten years?