Facebook IPO: from a dorm room, to 800 million users, to an S-1


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In eight years, Facebook has gone from the creation of a couple of college kids in a Harvard dorm room, to Silicon Valley golden child, to filing for one of the largest IPOs the U.S. has ever seen.

Although Facebook is in the midst of a milestone day Wednesday, there have been many other important moments in the relatively young life of what has grown into the mostly widely used social network in the world.


Here is a rundown of key moments in Facebook’s history, as compiled by the Associated Press:

February 2004: Mark Zuckerberg starts Facebook as a sophomore at Harvard University. March 2004: Facebook begins expansion to other colleges and universities. June 2004: Facebook moves headquarters to Palo Alto. September 2004: Facebook introduces the Wall, which allows users to write personal musings and other tidbits on profile pages. A lawsuit is filed against Facebook alleging that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from a company co-founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and a third person at Harvard. September 2005: Facebook expands to include high schools. May 2006: Facebook introduces work networks, allowing people with a corporate email address to join. September 2006: Facebook begins letting anyone over 13 join. It also introduces News Feed, which collects friends’ Wall posts in one place. Although that led to complaints about privacy, News Feed became one of Facebook’s most popular features. May 2007: Facebook launches Platform, a system for letting outside programmers develop tools for sharing photos, taking quizzes and playing games. The system creates a Facebook economy and allows companies such as game maker Zynga Inc. to thrive. October 2007: Facebook agrees to sell a 1.6% stake to Microsoft for $240 million and forges an advertising partnership. November 2007: Facebook unveils its Beacon program, a feature that broadcasts users’ activities on dozens of outside sites. Yet another privacy backlash led Facebook to give users more control over Beacon, before Facebook ultimately scrapped it as part of a legal settlement. March 2008: Facebook hires Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer, snatching the savvy, high-profile executive from Google Inc. April 2008: Facebook Chat is introduced. February 2009: Facebook introduces ‘Like,’ enabling users to endorse other users’ posts. June 2009: Facebook surpasses News Corp.’s Myspace as the leading online social network in the U.S. August 2010: Facebook launches location feature, enabling users to share where they are with their friends and strangers. October 2010: Release of ‘The Social Network,’ a movie about Zuckerberg and the legal battles over Facebook’s founding. It gets eight Academy Award nominations and wins three. June 2011: Google launches rival social network called Google+. The Winklevoss twins end their legal battle over the idea behind Facebook. They had settled with Facebook for $65 million in 2008, but later sought more money. September 2011: Facebook introduces Timeline, a new version of the profile page. It shows highlights from a user’s entire Facebook life rather than recent posts. November 2011: Facebook agrees to settle federal charges that it violated users’ privacy by getting people to share more information than they agreed to when they signed up. As part of a settlement, Facebook will allow independent auditors to review its privacy practices for two years. It also agrees to get approval from users before changing how the company handles their data. December 2011: Facebook completes its move to Menlo Park, Calif. Its address is 1 Hacker Way. January 2012: Facebook begins making Timeline mandatory. February 2012: Facebook files for an initial public offering of stock.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+