The most popular social networking site, which allows anyone to share photos, comments and videos online. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, the site is free to members and derives its revenue from ads. The Facebook name came from the paper document with names and faces issued to college freshmen to help them get acquainted with each other.
Using the built-in search, members can locate other Facebook members and "friend" them by sending them an invitation, or they can invite people to join Facebook (see Faceslam
). Facebook offers instant messaging and photo sharing, and Facebook's email is the only messaging system many students ever use.
Timeline/Wall, News Feed and Ticker
The Timeline (new format) or Wall (old format) is the area on Facebook where members post comments and their current status and location as well as upload photos and videos.
The News Feed shows the activity of the people and organizations members follow, while very active members see updates in real-time on their Ticker.
Profiles, Pages and Groups
There are three types of representation on Facebook. Individuals create a Facebook "Profile," which is normally a two-way interaction with friends. Businesses create a Facebook "Page" to promote products and brands. Also called a "Fan Page," all members are accepted as fans, and although comments can be posted by them, a Page is primarily a one-way broadcast from the business. In addition, Facebook provides demographic statistics about usage. See Facebook Like
The third presence is a Facebook "Group," and any community of people may create one. Group administrators may accept all members or reject requests based on the Group's criteria.
Initially targeting Harvard students, Facebook was later opened to other universities and then high schools. In 2006, it allowed everyone to join and added a News Feed feature that would broadcast changes in members' pages to all Facebook users identified in their network of friends. It turned Facebook into a personalized social news service that by 2010 had more than 500 million members. Two years later, Facebook surpassed one billion users, and today, nearly three billion people use the service.
In 2007, Facebook introduced its application platform to developers. By 2010, more than a half million applications were available for business, education and entertainment. Games have been the most popular, and Facebook Credits were created to provide virtual money to spend while playing.
Facebook Became Meta
In late 2021, Facebook changed to Meta Platforms, Inc. to provide a more comprehensive name that covers all its widely used products (see Facebook Messenger
). The company is also expanding its virtual reality platforms (see Meta Quest
). See Facebook Workplace
, Facebook Live
, Facebook Platform
, Open Graph
, Facebook Gaming
, Facebook Graph Search
, Facebook M
, Facebook Ad Library
, social networking service
and social advertising
Facebook became increasingly commercial. Vendors, celebrities and politicians use Facebook to publish their products and agendas. See Facebook algorithm