Defining Moments In Facebook History as Social Media Giant Turns 15

Mark Zuckerberg created a service for Harvard students that graduated into tech innovation.

According to a recent article by The New York Times, one of the most powerful weapons agents from Russia used to reshape American politics were feelings and misinformation that real Americans were already posting about on social media.
Facebook Newsfeed is a gold mine for partisan media. (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It’s been 15 years since Facebook creeped onto the internet.

Back in 2004, Wired published an article comparing the site to Friendster and Orkut. But the 15 years since, the Facebook has outlasted its contemporaries to become a major presence in lives around the world.

TheFacebook, which it was once called, had just 250,000 users at one point, but even that was a number that Zuckerberg couldn’t have imagined previously: “I expected that a few people would do it at Harvard and they’d tell their friends, but I didn’t expect it would take hold as this all-inclusive directory.”

Wired broke down some of the social media giant’s most defining moments that got Facebook where it is today.

The Winklevii Sue Facebook

Zuckerberg’s former Harvard pals Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss sued the Facebook creator saying that they stole their idea to create the social network, which was then called HarvardConnection. The legal battle was chronicled into a film, The Social Network.

The News Feed Launches

Before it’s launch, folks hopped from one user’s profile to the next, but News Feed changed all of that in 2006. Finally, there was place on Facebook where your friends’ posts would show up in one organized space. Some were not happy with the new feature as they soon found every update, post, and engagement visible to people they never added as a friend or intended to share with. Zuckerberg admitted to the error saying “we really messed this one up” and announced new News Feed controls.

Facebook Launches Like Button

What we were even doing before the ‘like’ button appeared on Facebook? In 2009 the button was added to the site which helped to feed the human need for acceptance and validation. Regular people to politicians could use the feature as a means to gauge their audiences reaction to whatever it was they were posting.

Facebook Buys Instagram

For a cool $1 billion Facebook snatched up image sharing giant Instagram in what was probably the smartest business move the company has made to date. The acquisition helped bring a younger audience to the platform as well as squash what could have been a fierce competition between the social media platforms. Instagram accounts for an increasingly large amount of new ad revenue for Facebook.

Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress

After years of scandals involving data breaches and privacy issues, Zuckerberg testified before US Congress in 2018. He had to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica breach and how the business protects its users as well as what the company does with user data. The succession of scandals impacted the company’s stock prices.

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