Facebook is a social networking phenomenon that allows its users to be in touch with their contacts (called friends) in real time. There are literally thousands of facts about Facebook about which the average user is not aware, but that make fascinating reading. Here are some of these interesting facts and figures.
The idea for Facebook came to Mark Zuckerberg and two friends while they were studying computer science at Harvard University. In the United States, most schools and universities publish a book each year showing pictures of faculty, staff and students, which is known as a facebook.
In February 2004 Zuckerberg and two of his friends launched a file sharing service called Wirehog, which evolved into Facebook as we know it today. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal (the e-bay banking system), gave $500,000 towards the start up costs. The program allowed one to upload and download friends’ files. It only took a few weeks for many applications to be built, which then elicited a few million users. The very first networks created were for Microsoft and Apple, with those for Intel, Amazon, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pepsi, Gap, Accenture and many others soon to follow. There are at present more than 800,000 developers worldwide building applications for Facebook; and 10,000 servers run the infrastructure.
Wirehog was retired in 2006 because of privacy issues. In 2007 Zuckerberg won the Best Startup section of the Crunchie Awards. He dropped out of his studies at Harvard and has no degrees in any field.
To this day Facebook is still a privately owned company, which has an estimated value of between $25 and $30 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, in his personal capacity, is worth $4 billion. In 2006 Yahoo offered to purchase Facebook for $1 billion, but the offer was rejected. The site makes its money from advertising and the sale of virtual products.
At the time of writing there are 500 million active users – of which 34% are in the United States (125 million), 32% in Europe, 20% in Asia (which is now the fastest growing sector), 9% in South America, 3% in Africa and 2% in Australia. 200 million users log onto the site every day. The average user has 130 friends. People spend 8.3 billion hours a month on the site. The value to the company of each user is approximately $136.
The original Facebook homepage showed Al Pacino’s face and was called the Facebook guy, although it was not originally known to be Pacino. Michael Jackson has the most popular page; Homer Simpson is in the number 2 spot.
Facebook has an App allowing users to see the Facebook Cafe menu. As Facebook employees get a free meal every day, they created this app so that everyone can see what meals are served.
In Australia, court notices may be served via Facebook, and they are considered to be legally binding.
A movie about Facebook will be released later in 2010 called The Social Network, with Jesse Eisenberg starring as Zuckerberg.
Finally, psychologists have identified a new phenomenon identified with those users who spend an enormous amount of time on Facebook. It is called Facebook Addiction Disorder. Beware!