Facebook turns 9: A look at the journey of becoming a social networking giant

by Shweta Nanda, InformationWeek, February 4, 2013

As the social networking website celebrates its 9th birthday, let’s look at major milestones accomplished by Facebook since its origin from a dorm of Harvard University

Founded on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, the world’s most popular social networking website has turned nine today. From its initial days of limited memberships for college students to over one billion active users today, the social networking major has definitely come a long way. 

Let’s look at major milestones in Facebook’s journey: 

  • January 11, 2004: ‘’ domain is registered by Mark Zuckerberg
  • February 4, 2004: "Thefacebook” is launched with membership restricted to students of Harvard University 
  • March 2004: Facebook expands to other colleges and universities
  • June 2004: Facebook incorporates into a new company and moves its base of operations to Palo Alto, California.
  • September 2004: Facebook introduces ‘The Wall’, allowing users to share their thoughts on profile pages. ConnectU files a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and other Facebook founders claiming that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from their company. 
  • December 30, 2004: Facebook achieves its one millionth registered user. 
  • September 2005: Starts adding high schools to the network. 
  • September 2006: The social networking site opens to everyone aged 13 and over, and with a valid e-mail address. It launches News Feed, which allows users to see all wall posts by friends at one place. 
  • October, 2007:  Microsoft purchases a 1.6 percent share of Facebook for USD 240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around USD 15 billion.
  • March 2008: Facebook hires Sheryl Sandberg, previously Google's Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations, as its COO. 
  • June 2008: Facebook acquires ConnectU for USD 20 million in cash and over USD 1.2 million in shares, valued at USD 45 million based on USD 15 billion company valuation.
  • October 2008: Facebook sets up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland
  • February 2009: Facebook introduces ‘Like’ button, allowing users to "like" status updates, comments, photos, and links posted by their friends. 
  • June 2009: Facebook surpasses News Corp.’s Myspace as the leading online social network in the U.S.
  • August 2009: Facebook acquires social media real-time news aggregator FriendFeed, a startup created by Gmail's first engineer Paul Buchheit.
  • February 2010: Facebook acquires Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions.
  • June 2011: Facebook partners with Skype to add video chat.
  • September 2011: Facebook introduces Timeline in the profile page, which shows highlights of activities by Facebook user since joining rather than displaying recent posts. 
  • October 10, 2011: Facebook launches iPad app.
  • January 2012: Facebook begins making Timeline mandatory.
  • April, 2012: Facebook acquires Instagram, a photo-sharing social network, for USD 1 billion in cash and stock
  • May, 2012: Facebook goes public, negotiating a share price of USD 38 apiece, valuing the company at USD 104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company
  • October, 2012: Facebook reaches 1 billion users
  • January 2013: Facebook launches Graph Search that lets users sift through their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places.

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