The Famous FACEBOOK

Facebook is a social networking website launched in February 2004 and operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.[1] Users can add people as friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by workplace, school, or college. The website’s name stems from the colloquial name of books given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better. Anyone age 13 or older can become a Facebook user.

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.[6] The website’s membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It later expanded further to include (potentially) any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The original concept for Facebook was borrowed from a product produced by Zuckerberg’s prep school Phillips Exeter Academy, which for decades published and distributed a printed manual of all students and faculty, unofficially called the “face book”. The website currently has more than 400 million active users worldwide.[7][8]

Facebook has met with some controversy. It has been blocked intermittently in several countries including Pakistan,[9] Syria,[10] China,[11] Vietnam,[12] and Iran.[13] It has also been banned at many places of work to discourage employees from wasting time using the service.[14] Privacy has also been an issue, and it has been compromised several times. Facebook settled a lawsuit regarding claims over source code and intellectual property.[15] The site has also been involved in controversy over the sale of fans and friends.[16]

A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, followed by MySpace.[17] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade ‘best-of’ list, saying, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?”[18]

At the All Things Digital conference in June 2010, Zuckerberg was asked if he expected to remain CEO if the company went public. Zuckerberg said he did, adding that he doesn’t “think about going public … much.” He said he did not have a date in mind for a potential IPO.

History

Facemash

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facemash on October 28, 2003, while attending Harvard as a sophomore. The site represented a Harvard University version of Hot or Not, according to the Harvard Crimson.[21] That night, Zuckerberg was blogging about a girl who had dumped him and trying to think of something to do to get her off his mind:[22][23][24]

I’m a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10 p.m. and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland [dorm] facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.
—9:48 pm
Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals…), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.
—11:09 pm
Let the hacking begin.
—12:58 am

According to The Harvard Crimson, Facemash “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 the protected areas of Harvard’s computer network and copied the houses’ private dormitory ID images.

Harvard at that time did not have a student directory with photos, and basic information and the initial site generated 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.[25] That the initial site mirrored people’s physical community—with their real identities—represented the key aspects of what later became Facebook.[26]

“Perhaps Harvard will squelch it for legal reasons without realizing its value as a venture that could possibly be expanded to other schools (maybe even ones with good-looking people…),” Zuckerberg wrote in his personal blog. “But one thing is certain, and it’s that I’m a jerk for making this site. Oh well. Someone had to do it eventually…”[27] The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy, and faced expulsion, but ultimately the charges were dropped.[28]

Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final by uploading 500 Augustan images to a website, with one image per page along with a comment section.[26] He opened the site up to his classmates and people started sharing their notes. “The professor said it had the best grades of any final he’d ever given. This was my first social hack. With Facebook, I wanted to make something that would make Harvard more open,” Zuckerberg said in a TechCrunch interview.

Thefacebook

The facebook on February 12, 2004.

The following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website in January 2004. He was inspired, he said, by an editorial in The Harvard Crimson about the Facemash incident. “It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available,” the paper observed. “The benefits are many.”[22] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com.[29] “Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg told The Harvard Crimson. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.”[30] “When Mark finished the site, he told a couple of friends. And then one of them suggested putting it on the Kirkland House online mailing list, which was…three hundred people,” according to roommate Dustin Moskovitz. “And, once they did that, several dozen people joined, and then they were telling people at the other houses. By the end of the night, we were…actively watching the registration process. Within twenty-four hours, we had somewhere between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred registrants.”[31]

Just six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.[32]

The three complained to the Harvard Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. Zuckerberg used his site, TheFacebook.com, to look up members of the site who identified themselves as members of the Crimson. Then he examined a log of failed logins to see if any of the Crimson members had ever entered an incorrect password into TheFacebook.com. In the cases in which they had entered failed logins, Mark tried to use them to access the Crimson members’ Harvard email accounts. He successfully accessed two of them.[32] The three later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, later settling.[33]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College, and within the first month, more than half the undergraduate population at Harvard was registered on the service.[34] Eduardo Saverin (business aspects), Dustin Moskovitz (programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and Chris Hughes soon joined Zuckerberg to help promote the website. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale.[35] This expansion continued when it opened to all Ivy League and Boston area schools, and gradually most universities in Canada and the United States.[36] Facebook incorporated in the summer of 2004 and the entrepreneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising Zuckerberg, became the company’s president.[37] In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California.[35] The company dropped The from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com in 2005 for $200,000.[38]

Facebook

Total active users[N 1]
Date↓ Users (in millions)↓ Days later↓
02008-08-26 August 26, 2008 &0000000000000100.000000100[39] &0000000000001665.0000001,665
02009-04-08 April 8, 2009 &0000000000000200.000000200[40] &0000000000000225.000000225
02009-09-15 September 15, 2009 &0000000000000300.000000300[41] &0000000000000160.000000160
02010-02-05 February 5, 2010 &0000000000000400.000000400[5] &0000000000000143.000000143
&0000000000000500.000000500 &0000000000000146.000000146 (ongoing)

Facebook launched a high school version in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step.[42] At that time, high school networks required an invitation to join.[43] Facebook later expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft.[44] Facebook was then opened on September 26, 2006, to everyone of ages 13 and older with a valid e-mail address.[45][46] In October 2008, Facebook announced that it was to set up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.[47]

Facebook has been highly used in the years 2009-2010. It has crossed the visits of Google in some continents. And recently, Facebook.com was the top social network across eight of individual markets in the region, Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Vietnam, while other brands commanded the top positions in certain markets, including Google-owned Orkut in India, Mixi.jp in Japan, CyWorld in South Korea and Yahoo!’s Wretch.cc in Taiwan.[48]

Financials

Entrance to Facebook’s current headquarters in the Stanford Research Park, Palo Alto, California.

Another view of Facebook’s current headquarters.

Facebook received its first investment of US$500,000 in June 2004 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, in exchange for 7% of the company.[49] This was followed a year later by $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel Partners, and then $27.5 million more from Greylock Partners.[49][50] A leaked cash flow statement showed that during the 2005 fiscal year, Facebook had a net loss of $3.63 million.[51]

With the sale of social networking website MySpace to News Corp on July 19, 2005, rumors surfaced about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company.[52] Zuckerberg had already said he did not want to sell the company, and denied rumors to the contrary.[53] On March 28, 2006, BusinessWeek reported that a potential acquisition of Facebook was under negotiation. Facebook reportedly declined an offer of $750 million from an unknown bidder, and it was rumored the asking price rose as high as $2 billion.[54]

In September 2006, serious talks between Facebook and Yahoo! took place concerning acquisition of Facebook, with prices reaching as high as $1 billion.[55] Thiel, by then a board member of Facebook, indicated that Facebook’s internal valuation was around $8 billion based on their projected revenues of $1 billion by 2015, comparable to Viacom’s MTV brand, a company with a shared target demographic audience.[56]

On July 17, 2007, Zuckerberg said that selling Facebook was unlikely because he wanted to keep it independent, saying “We’re not really looking to sell the company… We’re not looking to IPO anytime soon. It’s just not the core focus of the company.”[57] In September 2007, Microsoft approached Facebook, proposing an investment in return for a 5% stake in the company, offering an estimated $300–500 million.[58] That month, other companies, including Google, expressed interest in buying a portion of Facebook.[59]

On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion.[60] However, Microsoft bought preferred stock that carried special rights, such as “liquidation preferences” that meant Microsoft would get paid before common stockholders if the company is sold. Microsoft’s purchase also included rights to place international ads on Facebook.[61] In November 2007, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing invested $60 million in Facebook.[62]

In August 2008, BusinessWeek reported that private sales by employees, as well as purchases by venture capital firms, had and were being done at share prices that put the company’s total valuation at between $3.75 billion and $5 billion.[61] In October 2008, Zuckerberg said “I don’t think social networks can be monetized in the same way that search did… In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today.”[63]

In August 2009, Facebook acquired social media real-time news aggregator FriendFeed,[64] a startup created by the former Google employee and Gmail‘s first engineer Paul Buchheit who, while at Google, coined the phrase “Don’t be evil“.[65][66][67] In September 2009, Facebook claimed that it had turned cash flow positive for the first time.[68] In February 2010, Facebook acquired Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions.[69] On April 2, 2010, Facebook announced acquisition of photo-sharing service called Divvyshot for an undisclosed amount.[70] In June 2010, an online marketplace for trading private company stock reflected a valuation of $11.5 billion.[71]

Website

Interface evolution

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2004.

Facebook profile shown in 2006.

Facebook profile shown in 2007.

Facebook Lite shown in 2009.

New Facebook homepage released in February 2010.

Facebook’s homepage features a login form on the top right for existing users and a registration form directly underneath for new visitors.

Users can create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information and other personal information. Communicating with friends and other users can be done through private or public messages or a chat feature. Users can also create and join interest groups and “like pages” (formerly called “fan pages” until April 19, 2010), some of which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising.[72] To allay concerns about privacy, Facebook enables users to choose their own privacy settings and choose who can see what parts of their profile.[73]

The website is free to users and generates revenue from advertising, such as banner ads.[74] By default, the viewing of detailed profile data is restricted to users from the same network and “reasonable community limitations”.[75]

Microsoft is Facebook’s exclusive partner for serving banner advertising,[76] and as such Facebook only serves advertisements that exist in Microsoft’s advertisement inventory. According to comScore, an internet marketing research company, Facebook collects as much data from its visitors as Google and Microsoft, but considerably less than Yahoo!.[77]

Facebook Lite

In August 2009, Facebook announced the rollout of a “lite” version of the site, optimized for users on slower or intermittent Internet connections. Facebook Lite offered fewer services, excluded most third-party applications and required less bandwidth.[78] A beta version of the slimmed-down interface was released first to invited testers[79] before a broader rollout across users in the United States, Canada, and India.[78] It was announced on 20 April 2010 that support for the “lite” service had ended and that users would be redirected back to the normal, full content, Facebook website. The service was only operational for eight months.

Features

Main article: Facebook features

The media often compares Facebook to MySpace, but one significant difference between the two websites is the level of customization.[80] MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), while Facebook only allows plain text.[81]

Facebook has a number of features with which users may interact. They include the Wall, a space on every user’s profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see;[82] Pokes, which allows users to send a virtual “poke” to each other (a notification then tells a user that they have been poked);[83] Photos, where users can upload albums and photos;[84] and Status, which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and actions.[85] Depending on privacy settings, anyone who can see a user’s profile can also view that user’s Wall. In July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously limited to textual content only.[82]

Over time, Facebook has added features to its website. On September 6, 2006, a News Feed was announced, which appears on every user’s homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays of the user’s friends.[86] This has enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause.[87] Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, while others were concerned it made it too easy for other people to track down individual activities (such as changes in relationship status, events, and conversations with other users).[88] In response to this dissatisfaction, Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site’s failure to include appropriate customizable privacy features. Since then, users have been able to control what types of information are shared automatically with friends. Users are now able to prevent friends from seeing updates about certain types of activities, including profile changes, Wall posts, and newly added friends.[89] On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted US patent 7669123 on certain aspects of their News Feed. The patent covers News Feeds where links are provided so that one user can participate in the same activity of another user.[90] This patent is controversial in that it appears to cover all types of News Feeds.

One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums and photos.[91] Facebook allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos, compared with other image hosting services such as Photobucket and Flickr, which apply limits to the number of photos that a user is allowed to upload. During the first years, Facebook users were limited to 60 photos per album. As of May 2009, this limit has been increased to 200 photos per album.[92][93][94][95] Privacy settings can be set for individual albums, limiting the groups of users that can see an album. For example, the privacy of an album can be set so that only the user’s friends can see the album, while the privacy of another album can be set so that all Facebook users can see it. Another feature of the Photos application is the ability to “tag“, or label users in a photo. For instance, if a photo contains a user’s friend, then the user can tag the friend in the photo. This sends a notification to the friend that they have been tagged, and provides them a link to see the photo.[96]

Facebook Notes was introduced on August 22, 2006, a blogging feature that allowed tags and embeddable images. Users were later able to import blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging services.[45] During the week of April 7, 2008, Facebook released a Comet-based[97] instant messaging application called “Chat” to several networks,[98] which allows users to communicate with friends and is similar in functionality to desktop-based instant messengers.

Facebook launched Gifts on February 8, 2007, which allows users to send virtual gifts to their friends that appear on the recipient’s profile. Gifts cost $1.00 each to purchase, and a personalized message can be attached to each gift.[99][100] On May 14, 2007, Facebook launched Marketplace, which lets users post free classified ads.[101] Marketplace has been compared to Craigslist by CNET, which points out that the major difference between the two is that listings posted by a user on Marketplace are only seen by users that are in the same network as that user, whereas listings posted on Craigslist can be seen by anyone.[102]

On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced “Facebook Beta”, a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a “cleaner” look.[103] After initially giving users a choice to switch, Facebook began migrating all users to the new version beginning in September 2008.[104]

On December 11, 2008, it was announced that Facebook was testing a simpler signup process.[105] On June 13, 2009, Facebook introduced a “Usernames” feature, whereby pages can be linked with simpler URLs such as http://www.facebook.com/facebook as opposed to http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20531316728.[106]

Platform

Facebook mobile graphical user interface.

Facebook’s former headquarters in downtown Palo Alto, California.

Facebook launched the Facebook Platform on May 24, 2007, providing a framework for software developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features.[107][108] A markup language called Facebook Markup Language was introduced simultaneously; it is used to customize the “look and feel” of applications that developers create. Using the Platform, Facebook launched several new applications,[107][108] including Gifts, allowing users to send virtual gifts to each other, Marketplace, allowing users to post free classified ads, Events, giving users a method of informing their friends about upcoming events, and Video, letting users share homemade videos with one another.[109][110]

Applications that have been created on the Platform include chess, which both allow users to play games with their friends.[111] In such games, a user’s moves are saved on the website, allowing the next move to be made at any time rather than immediately after the previous move.[112]

By November 3, 2007, seven thousand applications had been developed on the Facebook Platform, with another hundred created every day.[113] By the second annual f8 developers conference on July 23, 2008, the number of applications had grown to 33,000,[114] and the number of registered developers had exceeded 400,000.[115]

Within a few months of launching the Facebook Platform, issues arose regarding “application spam“, which involves Facebook applications “spamming” users to request it be installed.[116]

Facebook Connect was announced for the Xbox 360 and Nintendo DSi on June 1, 2009 at E3.[117] On November 18, 2009, Sony announced an integration with Facebook to deliver the first phase of a variety of new features to further connect and enhance the online social experiences of PlayStation 3.[118] On February 2, 2010, Facebook announced the release of HipHop for PHP as an opensource project.

Smartphones

Many new smartphones offer access to the Facebook services either through their web-browsers or applications. The Facebook iPhone app was launched August 2007 and as of July 2008 over 1.5 million people use it regularly.[119] A free application for the iPhone OS named “Facebook for iPhone” was launched July 2008.[119] Version 2.0 of this app was released in September 2008 and featured improved services such as being able to respond to friend requests and notifications.[120] Version 3.0 was released in August 2009 and added features such as events, and uploading video with a iPhone 3GS.[121]

Nokia offers a Facebook app on its Ovi Store for Nokia S60 devices such as the N97 and contains most of the functionality of the full website.[122]

Google’s Android 2.0 OS automatically includes an official Facebook app. The first device to use this is the Motorola Droid. The app has options to sync Facebook friends with contacts, which adds profile pictures and status updates to the contacts list. Research In Motion also offers a Facebook application for the BlackBerry. It includes a range of functions, including an ability to integrate Facebook events into the BlackBerry calendar, and using Facebook profile pictures for Caller ID.[123]

Server infrastructure

At QCon San Francisco 2008,[124] Director of Engineering Aditya Agarwal indicated that the front-end servers are running a PHP LAMP stack with the addition of Memcached, and the back-end services are written in a variety of languages including C++, Java, Python and Erlang. Other components of the Facebook infrastructure (which have been released as open source projects) include Scribe, Apache Thrift and Apache Cassandra, as well as existing open-source components such as ODS.

In January 2010, Facebook confirmed it is building the company’s first custom data center in Prineville, Oregon.[125] When completed in June 2011, the 147,000 square feet (13,700 m2) building will occupy 30 acres (0.12 km2) of the 124 acres (0.50 km2) site they purchased, and will house 35 employees.[126][127]

Downtime and outages

Facebook has had a number of outages and downtime large enough to draw some media attention. A 2007 outage resulted in a security hole that enabled some users to read other users’ personal mail.[128] In 2008, the site was inaccessible for about a day, from many locations in many countries.[129] In spite of these occurrences, a report issued by Pingdom found that Facebook had less downtime in 2008 than most social networking websites.[130] On September 16, 2009, Facebook started having major problems with loading when people signed in. On September 18, 2009, Facebook went down for the second time in 2009, the first time being when a group of hackers were deliberately trying to drown out a political speaker who had social networking problems from continuously speaking against the Iranian election results.[citation needed] In October 2009, an unspecified number of Facebook users were unable to access their accounts for over three weeks.[131][132][133][134][135]

URL shortener

On December 14, 2009, Facebook launched its own URL shortener based on FB.me domain name.[136] From that point on, all links based on facebook.com can be accessed under fb.me, which is seven characters shorter.

IPv6

According to a June 2010 report by Network World, Facebook said that it was offering “experimental, non-production” support for IPv6, the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet’s main communications protocol. The news about Facebook’s IPv6 support was expected; Facebook told Network World in February 2010, that it planned to support native IPv6 user requests “by the midpoint of this year.”[137]

In a presentation at the Google IPv6 Implementors Conference, Facebook’s network engineers said it was “easy to make [the] site available on v6.” Facebook said it deployed dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 support on its routers, and that it made no changes to its hosts in order to support IPv6. Facebook also said it was supporting an emerging encapsulation mechanism known as Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP), which separates Internet addresses from endpoint identifiers to improve the scalability of IPv6 deployments. “Facebook was the first major Web site on LISP (v4 and v6),” Facebook engineers said during their presentation. Facebook said that using LISP allowed them to deploy IPv6 services quickly with no extra cost. Facebook’s IPv6 services are available at http://www.v6.facebook.com, m.v6.facebook.com, http://www.lisp6.facebook.com and m.lisp6.facebook.com.[137]

Impact

The stage at the Facebook – Saint Anselm College debates in 2008

Facebook’s effect on the American political system became clear in January 2008, shortly before the New Hampshire primary, when Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live feedback about the “back to back” January 5 Republican and Democratic debates.[138][139][140] Charles Gibson moderated both debates, held at the Dana Center for the Humanities at Saint Anselm College. Facebook users took part in debate groups organized around specific topics, register to vote, and message questions.[141] Over 1,000,000 people installed the Facebook application ‘US politics’ in order to take part, and the application measured users’ responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates.[142] This debate showed the broader community what many what young students had already experienced: that Facebook was an extremely popular and powerful new way to interact and voice opinions. An article written by Michelle Sullivan of Uwire.com illustrates how the “facebook effect” has affected youth voting rates, support by youth of political candidates, and general involvement by the youth population in the 2008 election.[143]

Reception

According to comScore, Facebook is the leading social networking site based on monthly unique visitors, having overtaken main competitor MySpace in April 2008.[144] ComScore reports that Facebook attracted 132.1 million unique visitors in June 2008, compared to MySpace, which attracted 117.6 million.[145]

According to Alexa, the website’s ranking among all websites increased from 60th to 7th in worldwide traffic, from September 2006 to September 2007, and is currently 2nd.[146] Quantcast ranks the website 4th in the U.S. in traffic,[147] and Compete.com ranks it 2nd in the U.S.[148] The website is the most popular for uploading photos, with 14 million uploaded daily.[149]

Facebook is the most popular social networking site in several English-speaking countries, including Canada,[150] the United Kingdom,[151] and the United States.[152][153][154][155] The website has won awards such as placement into the “Top 100 Classic Websites” by PC Magazine in 2007,[156] and winning the “People’s Voice Award” from the Webby Awards in 2008.[157] In a 2006 study conducted by Student Monitor, a New Jersey-based company specializing in research concerning the college student market, Facebook was named the second most popular thing among undergraduates, tied with beer and only ranked lower than the iPod.[158]

By 2005, the use of Facebook had already become so ubiquitous that the generic verb “facebooking” had come into use to describe the process of browsing others’ profiles or updating one’s own.[159]

In 2008, Collins English Dictionary declared “Facebook” as their new Word of the Year.[160] In December 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary declared their word of the year to be the verb “unfriend”:

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a “friend” on a social networking site such as Facebook. As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

As of April 2010, according to The New York Times, countries with most Facebook users are the United States, the United Kingdom and Indonesia.[161]

Also in early 2010, Openbook was established, an avowed parody website (and privacy advocacy website)[162] which enables text-based searches of those Wall posts which are available to “Everyone,” i.e. to everyone on the Internet.

Use by courts

In December 2008, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory ruled that Facebook is a valid protocol to serve court notices to defendants. It is believed to be the world’s first legal judgement that defines a summons posted on Facebook as legally binding.[163]

In March 2009, the New Zealand High Court associate justice David Glendall allowed for the serving of legal papers on Craig Axe by the company Axe Market Garden via Facebook.[164]

Use by employers

Employers (such as Virgin Atlantic Airways) have also used Facebook as a means to keep tabs on their employees and have even been known to fire them over posts they’ve made.[165]

Criticism

Main article: Criticism of Facebook

Facebook has drawn criticism from a number of groups and has been banned by certain organizations or entire governments.[citation needed] Criticism often centers around the privacy of members or third parties, the way in which Facebook uses members’ information and controversial content posted by members.

Litigation

ConnectU

In 2004, ConnectU, a company founded by classmates of Zuckerberg, filed a lawsuit against Facebook. They claimed that Zuckerberg had broken an oral contract for them to build the Facebook site, copied their idea,[166] and used source code that belonged to them.[27][167][168][169] The parties reached a confidential settlement agreement in February 2008.[170] In 2008, they attempted unsuccessfully to rescind the settlement, claiming that Facebook had understated its valuation in connection with its settlement negotiations. Despite the confidentiality agreement, a law firm that represented ConnectU inadvertently disclosed the $65 million settlement amount.

StudiVZ

On July 18, 2008, Facebook sued StudiVZ in a California federal court, alleging that StudiVZ copied its look, feel, features, and services. StudiVZ denied the claims, and asked for declaratory judgment at the District Court in Stuttgart, Germany.[177] On September 10, 2009, a settlement was reached, resulting in StudiVZ paying an undisclosed sum to Facebook and both companies continuing business as usual.

Grant Raphael

On July 24, 2008, the High Court in London ordered British freelance cameraman Grant Raphael to pay £22,000 (then about US$43,700) for breach of privacy and libel. Raphael had posted a fake Facebook page purporting to be that of a former schoolfriend and business colleague, Mathew Firsht, with whom Raphael had fallen out in 2000. The fake page claimed that Firsht was homosexual and untrustworthy. The case is believed to be the first successful invasion of privacy and defamation verdict against someone over an entry on a social networking site.

Adam Guerbuez

Facebook won a lawsuit against Canadian Adam Guerbuez, of Montreal, and his business, Atlantis Blue Capital. Guerbuez had spammed the website with over 4 million messages containing various advertisements including penis enlargement products and marijuana. The judgment awarded Facebook US$873 million.

Comments
3 Responses to “The Famous FACEBOOK”
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