Mark Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old Harvard computer science student when he ‘invented’ Facebook. In 2003, he wrote the software for a website called FaceMash and then he hacked into Harvard’s security network, where he copied the student photos. Website visitors could compare two student photos presented side-by-side and determine who was more attractive. FaceMash became extremely popular, however, it was shut down by Harvard a few days later, and Zuckerberg was almost expelled from the university.
Even though FaceMash got Zuckerberg into trouble, it inspired him to develop a new social media platform, and on February 4, 2004, he launched TheFacebook. He named the new site after the directories that were handed out to university students to help them to get to know one another better. Later on, Zuckerberg dropped ‘The’ and shortened the name of the website to ‘Facebook’, as we know it today.
At first, only Harvard students could be Facebook members, however, over time the website included students from other universities, and eventually it became available to companies and individual users who are at least 13 years of age and have a valid email address.
The social media platform turned out to be a huge success and the number of its users grew incredibly fast, making Zuckerberg the youngest multi-billionaire in the world.
Today, Facebook is one of the most valuable brands in the world, and Mark Zuckerberg together with a group of other wealthy businessmen decided to donate at least half of his wealth to charity. He and his wife, Priscilla Chan, started a foundation that works to help communities and improve people’s lives through education, health and scientific research.
Facebook owns many other popular brands, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.