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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.

Explosive Growth
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.

Facebook Platform
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.

The Facebook Company Became Meta
In late 2021, the company name was changed from Facebook to Meta (officially Meta Platforms, Inc.) to better represent all the company's offerings, each of which are major products in their own right (see Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus). 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.

Beyond Personal
Facebook is not only a venue for personal information but it became increasingly commercial. Vendors and celebrities use Facebook Pages to publish product information and agendas.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Even Hollywood recognized the intrigue of social media in a 2010 feature film, "The Social Network," that highlighted how Zuckerberg began at age 19 to build a little application called TheFacebook.com as a student at Harvard University.
Back in 2004 when 'Hey Ya!' was still topping the charts, young Mark Zuckerberg, the 19-year-old sophomore, and his Harvard roommates unleashed TheFacebook.com.
"Thefacebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges", the original website greeted its visitors back then, explaining that it would enable them to "search for people at your school, find out who are in your classes [sic], look up your friends' friends and see a visualization of your social network." 
Spotted by engineer Jane Manchun Wong (who also posted screenshots), the feature is aimed at helping people keep track of the time they spend using theFacebook app.
But in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, I have been thinking back to my decision to sign up for thefacebook.com on the site's fifth day in existence, and I am struck by the parallels between Zuckerberg's creation and a pesky (if generally benign) virus.
Soon, however, the idea for Facemash evolved into a website dubbed thefacebook.com that linked Harvard students online.
From its inception, Zuckerberg wanted and planned to turn Thefacebook (Facebook's original name) into a platform, which means that he wanted his nascent service to be a place where others could deploy software (Kirkpatrick, 2010).
Mark Zuckerberg launched a social networking site in 2004 known then as "Thefacebook" for his classmates at Harvard University.
Facebook the largest social networking site was founded by Harvard student and a keen programmer Mark Zuckerberg, when he accompanied with his roommates launched "thefacebook" on February 4, 2004.
(7) O Facebook foi criado pelo americano Mark Zuckerberg, quando este era aluno de Harvard, tendo inicialmente o nome Thefacebook. A rede funciona por meio de perfis e comunidades, podendo qualquer pessoa que deseje tornar-se membro criar uma conta.
Zuckerberg launched Thefacebook.com, as it was then known, from his dorm room on February 4, 2004 with some of his roommates and classmates.