Facebook: the beginning

On October 28, 2003, while trying to distract himself from the fact that he had just been dropped out, Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerburg created a “Hot or Not” type of website for Harvard students that he called Facemash. The site displayed two random photographs of Harvard college students and allowed users to vote on who was more handsome. Harvard quickly shut down the site and it emerged that Zuckerburg had hacked into secure parts of the Harvard computer network to find these photos. He was subjected to a disciplinary hearing and narrowly escaped expulsion.

Later that year, Zuckerburg created a site where he uploaded images of 500 paintings he was studying for his art history finale and allowed other people to comment on each image. (According to Wikipedia, the art history professor later said that that year, Zuckerburg received the highest marks he had ever given.) The success of this site, along with the success of Facemash, inspired him to start creating “Thefacebook”.

Zuckerburg enlisted the help of his Harvard fellow students Andrew McCollom, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Mokovitz, and Chris Hughes, and on February 4, 2004, they launched their new site for Harvard students, Thefacebook.

Word spread quickly and creators were shocked to find that in 24 hours, nearly 1,500 students had enrolled. In March of that year, half of Harvard students had accounts and Thefacebook allowed entry to students from Columbia, Yale and Stanford universities. This was quickly followed by the opening of the site to other Ivy League colleges.

One of the biggest controversies surrounding Facebook comes from the lawsuit brought by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of rival social networking site ConnectU. They claimed that Mark Zuckerburg used source code and ideas he obtained while working on his Facebook site. The lawsuit was filed on September 2, 2004 and settled for $ 65 million in early 2008.

In 2005, Thefacebook bought the domain name “facebook.com”, and on August 5, 2005, Thefacebook officially changed its name to simply “Facebook”.

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