Monday, 30th October 2017

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The ups and downs in Facebook’s 15-year journey

Facebook@15: Mark Zuckerberg's pleasures and pains

  • Published 6.02.19, 6:51 PM
  • Updated 6.02.19, 6:51 PM
  • 2 mins read
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Mark Zuckerberg The Telegraph file picture

1. The Winklevosses sue Facebook

Seven months into its journey, TheFacebook.com (as it was originally known) was sued by ConnectU, a start-up founded by the Winklevosses — identical twins and Harvard graduates Cameron and Tyler — and Divya Narendra for breach of contract in 2004. Mark Zuckerberg settled some years later.

2. Friends and their lives

News Feed launched in 2006, creating a stream on the users’ page, allowing them to see what their friends were up to.

3. Enter COO

Zuck met Sheryl Sandberg when she was a Google executive at a party in Silicon Valley in 2007. He wanted someone who could turn Facebook into a proper business. She agreed and joined Facebook in 2008 as chief operating officer.

4. Like it

FB enabled the Like button in 2009 but it was conceived as the Awesome button!

5. Holly treatment

Facebook’s intriguing world was given a Hollywood treatment by David Fincher in The Social Network (2010). The fictionalised look (Jesse Eisenberg plays Mr Z) of the man who runs the social network is shown to be sly as a fox and quick as a rabbit.

6. Going public

Facebook became a publicly-owned company in 2012. It was the most hyped IPO since Google went public but initially it didn’t turn out to be a whopper, for after a week the share price settled at around $32, down 15 per cent from the $38 opening.

7. Shopping for Instagram

In April 2012, Facebook snapped up the popular photo-sharing service for $1 billion in cash and stock. With Instagram in its pocket, Facebook became a formidable mobile player.

8. One billion users

A few months after going public, Facebook announced it had reached one billion users in September 2012. “Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life,” wrote Mr Z in a Facebook timeline update.

9. The Internet-access project

In 2013, the company announced Internet.org that aimed at cutting the cost of delivering basic Internet services on mobile phones, particularly in developing countries. Some called it altruistic and some called it a move towards world domination.

10. WhatsApp in the kitty

WhatsApp joins Facebook after a $19 billion deal. “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible,” said WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum in 2014. A few years later he parted ways when user data disputes took over discussions around FB in 2018. Also in 2014, FB picked up Oculus Rift for $2 billion.

11. Let’s go Live

In August 2015, Facebook rolled out a feature to broadcast live video streams from the company’s app for power users, Facebook Mentions. Six months later, the feature, branded Facebook Live, was rolled out for normal users.

12. Poof, $100 billion gone!

In 2018, Facebook became the first company to lose over $100 billion in market capitalisation in one day. It fell from nearly $630 billion to $510 billion, a 19 percent loss after a disappointing sales report.

13. Cambridge Analytica fiasco

After it was revealed (thanks to whistleblower Christopher Wylie) in 2018 that British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica got unauthorised data on up to 87 million Facebook members, Mr Z apologised (for the umpteenth time!): “We’re an idealistic and optimistic company…. But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough. We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well.”

14. Zuck, the robot

Last year, the Facebook CEO during his US Congressional grilling looked uncomfortable, awkward and a bit like a robot in a navy blue suit. The memes flowed in and so did jibes from the likes of Jim Carrey.

15. A sober, optimistic post

Mark Zuckerberg put out an optimistic note through his Facebook page to mark the company’s 15-year journey on February 4. He wrote: “While any rapid social change creates uncertainty, I believe what we’re seeing is people having more power, and a long term trend reshaping society to be more open and accountable over time.”