The most popular social networking site. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, the site is free to members and derives its revenue from ads. The name comes from the paper document with names and faces issued to college freshmen to help them get acquainted with each other. Using the search facilities, members can locate other Facebook members and "friend" them by sending them an invitation, or they can invite people to join Facebook (see Faceslam). Facebook offers instant messaging and photo sharing, and Facebook's e-mail is the only messaging system many students ever use.
Timeline/Wall, News Feed and Ticker
The Timeline (new format) or Wall (old format) is the area on Facebook where members post comments and their current status and location as well as upload photos and videos.
The News Feed shows the activity of the people and organizations members follow, while very active members see updates in real-time on their Ticker.
Profiles, Pages and Groups
There are three types of representation on Facebook. Individuals create a Facebook "Profile," which is normally a two-way interaction with friends. Businesses create a Facebook "Page" to promote products and brands. Also called a "Fan Page," all members are accepted as fans, and although comments can be posted by them, a Page is primarily a one-way broadcast from the business. In addition, Facebook provides demographic statistics about usage. See Facebook Like.
The third presence is a Facebook "Group," and any community of people may create one. Group administrators may accept all members or reject requests based on the Group's criteria.
Initially targeting Harvard students, Facebook was later opened to other universities and then high schools. In 2006, it allowed everyone to join and added a News Feed feature that would broadcast changes in members' pages to all Facebook users identified in their network of friends. It turned Facebook into a personalized social news service that by 2010 had more than 500 million members. Two years later, Facebook surpassed one billion users.
In 2007, Facebook introduced its application platform to developers. By 2010, more than a half million applications were available for business, education and entertainment. Games have been the most popular, and Facebook Credits were created to provide virtual money to spend while playing. See Facebook Workplace, Facebook Live, Facebook Platform, Open Graph, Facebook Graph Search, Facebook Messenger, Facebook M, social networking site and social advertising.
Facebook is not only a venue for personal information but is increasingly commercial. Vendors and celebrities use Facebook Pages to publish product information and agendas.