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Facebook at 20: From dorm room to global dominance, now what’s next?

Picture Credits: Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

As Facebook celebrates its 20th birthday, it’s hard to believe that the social networking giant started as a simple project in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University dorm room. What was once a small platform for students to connect has now become a global phenomenon with over 3 billion active users.

The birth of an idea

In 2004, Zuckerberg and his college roommates Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin came up with the idea for Facebook while studying computer science at Harvard. Little did they know that their project would revolutionize the way people connect and communicate.

From controversy to success

Before Facebook, Zuckerberg created a controversial website called FaceMash in 2003, which allowed users to compare the attractiveness of fellow students. Despite facing criticism, Zuckerberg persevered and launched Facebook a year later.

The blue color scheme

Many may not know that Facebook’s iconic blue color scheme is not just a design choice. Zuckerberg, who is red-green colorblind, chose blue as it is the color he sees best.

A billion dollar success story

At the age of 23, Zuckerberg became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire thanks to Facebook’s rapid and unprecedented success. Today, it is worth more than iconic companies such as Disney, Ford, and Kraft Foods.

A commitment to mission

Unlike other CEOs who earn millions in salary, Zuckerberg famously takes a salary of only $1 per year. Instead, his wealth comes from his significant ownership stake in the company. This serves as a symbol of his commitment to Facebook’s mission.

Acquiring new heights

Over the years, Facebook has acquired numerous companies, including Instagram and WhatsApp. These acquisitions have not only helped expand Facebook’s reach but have also allowed it to diversify its user base.

The power of the “Like” button

The iconic “Like” button on Facebook almost didn’t happen. Initially, Zuckerberg and his team were hesitant about its introduction, but it eventually became one of the platform’s defining features.

Connecting the world

Facebook’s mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” With this vision in mind, Zuckerberg launched in 2013, aiming to provide free internet access to underserved regions around the world.

Giving back

Together with his wife Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook shares (worth billions) to philanthropic causes through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This initiative focuses on education, health, and other social issues, showcasing Facebook’s commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

What lies ahead?

Similar to many other tech giants, Meta has been investing heavily to support its ambitious AI plans. Reportedly, Meta is gearing up to unleash its AI chips, internally referred to as Artemis later this year. It will be used in generative AI products and it plans to integrate into Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

As Facebook turns 20, it’s clear that its journey has been nothing short of remarkable. From a simple project in a college dorm room to a global powerhouse, Facebook has changed the way we connect and communicate with each other. Here’s to another 20 years of connecting the world and building communities. Happy birthday, Facebook!  

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