It’s become a place to make party plans, catch up on gossip, share photos and even find love.
But mostly Facebook users are sharing everything about themselves – with everyday events becoming something to broadcast to the world.
Since being launched by Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin at Harvard University, there’s been over 7.8 trillion messages sent, more than 400 billion photos shared and now around 6,300 workers are employed worldwide.
For many of the 1.23 billion monthly active users, it would be hard to imagine life without it.
“It colludes with our deep desire to be affirmed, to have lots of positives affirmation,” says UK-based psychotherapist Lucy Beresford.
“I’m thinking of the pokes, I’m thinking of the likes. We almost do things specifically to post them on Facebook and then to get that feedback to get that instant gratification and that’s not healthy,” she continues.
To mark its birthday Facebook is creating a “Look Back” personal video for every user containing about 15 most-liked photos, statuses, and life events. You should get a notification today if you are signed on. Or you can go to https://www.facebook.com/lookback to get a head start.
It’s a powerful tool, so potent that in China, Facebook is forbidden by the country’s government.
During the Arab Spring uprisings, the social networking tool helped mobilize protesters and document events – including here in Egypt.
“The mainstream media, in terms of television, print and radio had been co-opted by the state and they were telling a different story to what was going down the street,” says Bel Trew, a Cairo-based journalist.
“So, citizen journalism really exploded in 2011 and Facebook and Twitter were one of those ways, well two of those ways, that people were able to get information out there to the rest of the world because their own media wasn’t helping.”
While at one time there was debate over Facebook’s true creator, some say it was an idea just waiting to happen.
“I think somebody will have filled the void for people to communicate across what we call their social graph,” says Brent Hoberman, a UK-based internet entrepreneur.
“In the old days, it was the telephone. You just had lots of people you would call on speed dial and now obviously the internet’s a much more efficient way of doing that.”
The makers of Facebook know the site has to keep on changing to stay relevant and therefore successful.
Critics predicted the end after its floatation back in May 2012.
But it 2013, Facebook’s net income totalled 1.5 billion US dollars – according to company financial reports.
The website’s birthday today (Tuesday 4 February 2014) is sure to receive a few likes.
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