Facebook, the university experiment that conquered the internet, turns 15

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Facebook, the university experiment that conquered the internet, turns 15 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg delivers his speech during the VivaTech 2018 Convention in Paris, France. EFE / Archive

Facebook, the largest social network in the world and ubiquitous in online personal interactions today, either by itself or by the applications of its property, Instagram and WhatsApp, was born 15 years ago as an experiment among students of Harvard University (USA).

The network, which currently has 2.320 million monthly active users around the world, has its origins in a more primitive platform, Facemash, launched in 2003 with the aim of university students scoring the physical attractiveness of their colleagues through photographs. .

Facemash generated a strong controversy on the campus and was closed by the heads of the university after remaining operational for only two days, but in that short time and achieved about 22,000 votes cast by up to 450 people who connected to the service.

This initial success encouraged the 19-year-old who was behind Facemash, a then absolute unknown student of computer science and psychology Mark Zuckerberg, to develop what would be the seed of the current company, “The Facebook”, with his colleagues Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.

Thus, on February 4, 2004, “The Facebook” would be put into operation, designed as a directory to publicize and connect students and university staff to each other and to which 1,200 Harvard students connected in the following 24 hours.

The service quickly expanded to other universities in the Boston area (Massachusetts, USA) and the rest of the country, after which it changed its name definitively to the current Facebook and continued with its expansion, first among American secondary schools. and then between international universities.

In September 2006, after more than two years in operation, the platform took a leap that would forever mark its future, as it ceased to be a tool restricted to the educational sphere and became available to the general public, so that any Internet user could Create a profile

This movement made the company, from that moment, truly attractive to advertising companies, and Facebook laid the foundations for a business that would end up representing billions of dollars in profits in the coming years.

According to the most recent data of 2018, Facebook received about 20% of all advertising revenue generated on the Internet in the United States, only behind Google.

Only two years after starting to accept users from outside the educational field, the platform became in 2008 the most used social network on the planet, a title that has not been abandoned since then, unseating the then popular but now virtually residual Myspace portal .

After four years, in May 2012, Facebook went public in New York, where it was the largest initial sales offer (IPO) ever recorded by an Internet company, earning 16,000 million dollars, which gave to the company a stock price of 102,000 million.

By way of comparison, when Google went on the market eight years earlier in 2004, its IPO reached 1,900 million.

In recent years, Facebook has continued to grow, especially in emerging markets, and has had to adapt to the mobile phone revolution, where around 90% of its advertising revenue now comes from a reduction in its use in computers. .

In the last two years, especially since Russian “hackers” used the platform to influence the US presidential election. of 2016, the firm has been involved in a myriad of controversies, which have placed it at the forefront of the debate on privacy and communication in the Internet era. (EFEUSA) .-

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