Facebook is an American for-profit corporation and online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California. The Facebook website was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.
The founders had initially limited the website's membership to Harvard students. However, they later expanded it to higher education institutions in the Boston area, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford University. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students as well. Since 2006, anyone age 13 and older has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though variations exist in the minimum age requirement, depending on applicable local laws. The Facebook name comes from the face book directories often given to United States university students.
Facebook may be accessed by a large range of desktops, laptops, tablet computers, and smartphones over the Internet and mobile networks. After registering to use the site, users can create a user profile indicating their name, occupation, schools attended and so on. Users can add other users as "friends", exchange messages, post status updates and digital photos, share digital videos and links, use various software applications ("apps"), and receive notifications when others update their profiles or make posts. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups organized by workplace, school, hobbies or other topics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work" or "Close Friends". In groups, editors can pin posts to top. Additionally, users can complain about or block unpleasant people. Because of the large volume of data that users submit to the service, Facebook has come under scrutiny for its privacy policies. Facebook makes most of its revenue from advertisements which appear onscreen.
Facebook, Inc. held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, and began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching an original peak market capitalization of $104 billion. On July 13, 2015, Facebook became the fastest company in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to reach a market cap of $250 billion. Facebook has more than 1.86 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2016. As of April 2016, Facebook was the most popular social networking site in the world, based on the number of active user accounts. Facebook classifies users from the ages of 13 to 18 as minors and therefore sets their profiles to share content with friends only.
Last Updated: June 28, 2021