Hot or Not ~ The World Changes
January 4, 2004: Facebook is Born
A student at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg, opened a social networking site to just fellow students. But that limitation was soon expanded to other Ivy League schools and ultimately to anyone. The world changes.
Zuckerberg wrote a program called Facemash on October 28, 2003 while attending Harvard as a sophomore. According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not and “used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the ‘hotter’ person”.
To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into protected areas of Harvard’s computer network and copied private dormitory ID images. Harvard did not have a student “Facebook” (a directory with photos and basic information) at the time, although individual houses had been issuing their own paper facebooks since the mid-1980s. Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.
Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped. Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final. He uploaded 500 Augustan images to a website, and each image was featured with a corresponding comments section. He shared the site with his classmates and people started sharing notes.
The following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website in January 2004. He said he was inspired by an editorial about the Facemash incident in The Harvard Crimson. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com.
Release of statistics by DoubleClick showed that Facebook reached one trillion page views in the month of June 2011, making it the most visited website tracked by DoubleClick.
According to the Nielsen Media Research study, released in December 2011, Facebook is the second most accessed website in the US (behind Google).
Total number of Facebook users, 10/6/13 – 1.26 billion
Total number of Facebook monthly active users 1/29/14 – 1.23 billion