If you've seen the movie "The Social Network," then you probably have a good idea of Facebook history. However, movies often take dramatic license with history for the sake of the story. This article will give a documented, undramatic look at Facebook's history and its creator, Mark Zuckerberg.
In late October, 2003, Mark Zuckerberg created Facemash, which can be thought of as the precursor of Facebook. At the time Zuckerberg was a sophomore at Harvard and was studying computer science and psychology. Facemash was a rating site similar to Hot or Not in that two photo were displayed side-by-side and you voted on which person you found more attractive. Zuckerberg hacked the Harvard computer network and downloaded each house’s private photos. Harvard did not have a student facebook at the time. A facebook is a reference book with photos and basic information for freshman students. Harvard shut down the site a few days later but Zuckerberg become known because of the escapade. He also successfully escaped disciplinary action for the illegal hacking.
Thefacebook was the original name of Facebook before it was changed. In January of 2004, Zuckerberg began writing code for a social network that would take the basic principles of Facemash but enlarge them to create an online Harvard community. He registered thefacebook.com domain name on January 11, 2004 and officially launched thefacebook.com on February 4. That is the official launch date in Facebook history. Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg at various points during the development of the website and have officially been recognized as co-founders of Facebook. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to the campuses of Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth and Stanford. It quickly spread to include the other Ivy League Universities and then most major colleges and universities throughout North America.
In the summer of 2004, Zuckerberg moved out to California, and Sean Parker (co-founder of Napster) became the president of thefacebook.com. In June 2004, Facebook moved its headquarters to Palo Alto, California and received its first infusion of capital later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The company dropped the “the” from its name after acquiring the domain name Facebook.com in 2005 for the sum of $200,000. By September, 2005, Facebook was officially opened to high schools and at the end of September, 2006, Facebook.com was open to anyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address. On August 26, 2008 Facebook passed the 100 million user plateau. By January 5, 2011, the total Facebook population passed the 600 million user mark and is still expanding. Today the company is reportedly worth $50 billion.