Facebook Turns 14 This Year! Here Are All The Times It Killed The Social Media Game
From “FaceMash” to “The Facebook,” from a Harvard dorm room to almost every smartphone in the world
It’s official: social media has taken on a life of its own (having accessed this post likely through social media, it’s not like you didn’t already know that little fun fact). More than taking on a life of its own, it has created a world of its own: Today, there are business agencies dedicated entirely to studying social media trends (the rules of engagement in real life don’t always apply to the social media game). There is now a need for people to be just as mindful about their online lives as their real ones since online posting is powerful enough to get a person—or cost them—their dream job. People have become so dependent on this virtual connection that it leads to addiction in some cases.
No matter how impactful, however, not all of social media is built the same way. And if there’s one network that is leagues ahead of its peers and that's Facebook. Social media would definitely not be the same without Facebook. And this year, the company turns 14 years old.
“Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together,” says the Facebook Newsroom. “People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
It’s hard to imagine this billion-dollar company was the byproduct of a simple “hot or not” game called FaceMash born out of Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin’s Harvard dorm room.
14 years later and here we are: all equally invested in a smartphone and desktop application, small cogs in a much bigger machine. As of 2017’s end, Facebook boasts 2.13 billion monthly active users, an average of 1.4 billion daily active users and 25,105 employees in over 55 international locations. Facebook is still growing, changing the game, changing lives and still at it rewiring our brains.
Are there any signs of slowing down for Facebook? Looks like that’s a no. And on its 14th birthday, we’re looking back at all the times Facebook killed the social media game:
Facebook gave us the crisis response tool.
Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook (naturally) to share the potentially life-saving feature: “Over the past weeks we've seen many disasters and we've seen our community come together to help each other. Today we're bringing all our crisis response tools—Safety Check, Community Help, and Fundraisers—into a new place called Crisis Response. You'll also be able to see more information from places where Safety Check has been activated, along with relevant articles, photos and videos from our community. We think this is important infrastructure for helping to keep our global community safe. We're investing a lot in building these tools at Facebook. Thanks to all of you who are doing your part to keep each other safe.”
When Facebook comment sections took on a life of their own.
Such was the case when this Humans of New York post featured a woman named Beyoncé who shared her struggles with being named after a superstar.
The comment section was a goldmine because apparently Beyoncé wasn’t alone.
And the memes…all the memes…
When it created groups that brought liked-minded people together and it was sometimes random, sometimes weird but always glorious.
When it became a tool to post announcements about missing family members.
The Guardian reports: “In 2015, Child Rescue Alert partnered with Facebook to harness the social network’s reach. Now, when a missing child case meets certain criteria of seriousness, law enforcement agencies can issue geo-targeted posts, containing a photo and description, to appear in the newsfeeds of Facebook users in the area where the child is believed to be. ‘All over the world, we’ve seen communities rallying together in times of need, using Facebook to spread the word—and these alerts will make that quicker and help to reach more people than ever before,’ said Emily Vacher, trust and safety manager at Facebook at the September launch.”
When Facebook bought out Instagram.
What do you do when you see a competitor coming up close from behind? You buy them out. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1B, its largest acquisition so far.
“I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook. “For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook page. “We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook. “That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.”
It got on the right side of history and did more than give us the rainbow pride reaction button.
Facebook is very vocal when it comes to its stand on equality. Speaking for the pro-LGBTQ company, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said: “We’re committed to helping people express who they really are.”
Rewiring our brains to get used to an algorithm and then changing it completely overnight.
Brands are in hot water now. In January, Facebook announced that its new algorithm will prioritize friends, family and groups: “As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg posted, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
In the spirit of beating ‘em at their own game, Facebook succeeded in turning Snapchat’s novelty into a regular feature across the platforms it owns.
It also killed Skype when it added the video calling feature.
It became a tool to spread awareness.
Facebook user James Conley III posted: “Today I was racially profiled by the Old Navy store in West Des Moines, Iowa in Jordan creek.” The posts documenting the experience have moved netizens to call for the termination of the store clerk and store manager in question. Talk about power to the people.