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How Did Facebook Originate?

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 10/16/2010

Unless you've been avoiding the Internet, you've heard of this thing called Facebook. But where did it come from? What it is? What does it do? How did Facebook originate? Read on!

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    Almost everyone has heard of Facebook. In fact, it has been in the news recently, with a movie about the whole social networking craze, as well as privacy issues that come about from using the site. But even if you're vaguely aware of what Facebook is, you may not know how it came about or why.

    Knowing how something came into existence sometimes helps to understand its appeal to everyone else. In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind the social site, and just how did Facebook originate?

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    What is Facebook?

    So just how did Facebook originate and come to be one of the most popular social networking sites? As with a few of those big name websites and search engines that we rely on today, the original idea of Facebook began in a college dorm room - at Harvard University by Mark Zuckerberg. The original idea was called Facemesh and was used as a Harvard version of the popular Hot or Not websites. At the time, Harvard University did not have a student directory that included pictures of the student class, so Zuckerberg hacked into the school's computer systems and retrieved the images of each house's ID badges. Facebook.com 

    At the very beginning of Facebook started with just the students of Harvard, with the first site initially launched in 2004. The undergrads at the college were one of the first groups to sign up. Months later, the service was opened to the students of Stanford University, Columbia University, and Yale University. The expansion continued until all ivy league schools were able to join the site, as well as most colleges within the United States and Canada.

    In the years following, Facebook began to further its climb to popularity. The official name was made a domain in 2005, after receiving a loan from the co-founder of PayPal. That same year, Facebook was introduced to high school students, before expanding itself to several well known companies, like Apple and Microsoft. In 2006, Facebook was introduced to everyone on the Internet, allowing for those aged thirteen and older to sign up with a valid email address.

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    Facebook Now

    2010 marked five years for the social networking site and over five hundred million users. In a number of different studies regarding social networking, Facebook is listed as the number one social networking site, as well as one of the most popular. Since the beginning days for a bunch of college students, Facebook has now attracted friends, families, celebrities, TV shows, and other special events in order to connect with others.

    However, Facebook has also been in the news - it is banned in several countries and issues with privacy have made users and soon to be users wary, angry, and confused. Privacy was one of the big drawbacks of Facebook, as default settings let everyone and anyone search for people and read what they had on their profile page. A number of funny incidents have resulted from co-workers posting status updates when they should be at work or working.

    Businesses, while with a use for Facebook, have met with issues of employees spending more time on the site than on their job.

    The important thing to remember is, as with all things on the Internet, knowing what a site is, how it works, and how you can keep safe is paramount to enjoying all the benefits.