What is connection? Facebook completely turned the world of human interaction on its head when it skyrocketed to popularity after it opened its platform to everyone in 2006. It’s the social media juggernaut that has shaped everything from parenting to politics. There’s no way to overestimate Facebook’s impact on global culture.
Facebook started out as a connection site for Ivy League college students. At the time of its founding in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz at Harvard, it gave members a way to create digital diaries and communicate with their friends. For the first two years, only college students had access to the site. When the platform opened to everyone over the age of thirteen, it exploded in popularity.
The early days of Facebook, including its founding, have been a subject of great interest. This interest extended all the way to film with the 2010 drama The Social Network. Though the other founders largely exited the company, Zuckerberg stayed with Facebook and has been instrumental in its continued growth and relevance.
What has always set Facebook apart was its insistence on transparency. Users are real people, without aliases or false names. Peer-to-peer interactions that weave together interests and real world relationships allowed members of this free site to communicate in a whole new way via the digital medium. Facebook was always meant to be something of an old fashioned community meeting place, only the communities were online instead of in real life.
This is an issue that Facebook has struggled with as it has become more influential. During the 2016 presidential election, Facebook’s platform was illicitly used by foreign interests who were trying to undermine the electoral process by influencing public opinion through the platform. This kind of breach, along with other data breaches and privacy concerns, have been major scandals for the company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook has almost two and a half billion monthly users. Its assets are nearly one hundred billion dollars. Its CEO Mark Zuckerberg is worth almost seventy-five billion dollars.
The huge impact of Facebook is seen in its wide variety of ventures. It owns Instagram, Oculus, Calibra, and WhatsApp, among dozens of other subsidiaries. Facebook’s primary mode of revenue is advertising on its otherwise free platform, however the company has invested in and profited from a massive array of other ventures ranging from artificial intelligence to solar panels.
Facebook is the largest social media network in history. No other competing platform like Twitter or Pinterest even comes close to its user base or its revenue.
Its existence has defined social media, shaping not only culture but individual lives. There have been widespread academic studies on the impact of Facebook on users and on society, as it’s changed the way that people interact with each other in both positive and negative ways.
Though there have been plenty of scandals along the way, growth seems to be inevitable for Facebook. Its platform has reached every country on the globe, and users are able to access the site on all kinds of media. Whether it’s on a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer, Facebook seems to be everywhere.
The question is, what’s next? CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a college student when he founded the platform, which means that he potentially has many more years to shape the company and lead it into the next phase.