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Facebook, Inc.
Facebook Logo (2015) light.svg
Facebook user page (2019).png
Mark Zuckerberg's profile (viewed from the login page)
Type of businessPublic
Type of site
Social networking service
Available inMultilingual (140)
Traded as
FoundedFebruary 4, 2004; 15 years ago (2004-02-04) in Cambridge, Massachusetts[1]
1 Hacker Way
(aka 1601 Willow Road)
Menlo Park, California
Coordinates37°29?05?N 122°08?54?W / 37.4848°N 122.1484°W / 37.4848; -122.1484Coordinates: 37°29?05?N 122°08?54?W / 37.4848°N 122.1484°W / 37.4848; -122.1484
Area servedUnited States (2004-present)
Worldwide, except blocking countries (2005-present)
Key peopleMark Zuckerberg
(Chairman and CEO)
Sheryl Sandberg
David Wehner
Mike Schroepfer
Chris Cox
RevenueIncreaseUS$ 55.838 billion (2018)[2]
Operating incomeIncreaseUS$ 24.913 billion (2018)[2]
Net incomeIncreaseUS$ 22.111 billion (2018)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 97.334 billion (2018)[3]
Total equityIncrease US$ 84.127 billion (2018)[3]
Employees30,275 (June 30, 2018)[4]
Oculus VR
Alexa rankSteady 3 (February 2019)[5]
UsersIncrease 2.2 billion monthly active users (January 2018)
Current statusActive
Written inC++, PHP (as HHVM),[6]D[7]

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company. It is based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.[8][9]

The founders initially limited the website's membership to Harvard students and subsequently Columbia, Stanford, and Yale students. Membership was eventually expanded to the remaining Ivy League schools, MIT, and higher education institutions in the Boston area. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students. Since 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though variations exist in this requirement, depending on local laws. The name comes from the face book directories often given to American university students. Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company. It began selling stock to the public three months later. Facebook makes most of its revenue from advertisements that appear onscreen.

The Facebook service can be accessed from devices with Internet connectivity, such as personal computers, tablets and smartphones. After registering, users can create a customized profile revealing information about themselves. Users can post text, photos and multimedia of their own devising and share it with other users as "friends". Users can use various embedded apps, and receive notifications of their friends' activities. Users may join common-interest groups.

Facebook had more than 2.2 billion monthly active users as of January 2018. It receives prominent media coverage, including many controversies such as user privacy[10][11] and psychological effects. The company has faced intense pressure over censorship and over content that some users find objectionable.

Facebook offers other products and services. It acquired Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus Rift and independently developed Facebook Messenger.


2003-2006: Thefacebook, Thiel investment, and name change

Zuckerberg built a website called "Facemash" in 2003 while attending Harvard University. The site was comparable to Hot or Not and used "photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the "hotter" person".[12] Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours.[13] The site was sent to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged with breaching security, violating copyrights and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped.[12] Zuckerberg expanded on this project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam. He uploaded all art images to a website, each of which was accompanied by a comments section, then shared the site with his classmates.[14]

Original layout and name of Thefacebook, 2004

A "face book" is a student directory featuring photos and personal information.[13] In 2003, Harvard had only a paper version[15] along with private online directories.[12][16] Zuckerberg told the Crimson, "Everyone's been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard. ... I think it's kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week."[16] In January 2004, Zuckerberg coded a new website, known as "TheFacebook", inspired by a Crimson editorial about Facemash, stating, "It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available ... the benefits are many." Zuckerberg met with Harvard student Eduardo Saverin, and each of them agreed to invest $1,000 in the site.[17] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "TheFacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com.[18]

Six days after the site launched, Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com. They claimed that he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.[19] The three complained to the Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. They later sued Zuckerberg, settling in 2008[20] for 1.2 million shares (worth $300 million at Facebook's IPO).[21]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College. Within a month, more than half the undergraduates had registered.[22]Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help manage the growth of the website.[23] In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Columbia, Stanford and Yale.[24] and then to all Ivy League colleges, Boston University, New York University, MIT, Washington and successively most universities in the United States and Canada.[25][26]

In mid-2004, Napster co-founder and entrepreneur Sean Parker--an informal advisor to Zuckerberg--became company president.[27] In June 2004, the company moved to Palo Alto, California.[28] It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.[29] In 2005, the company dropped "the" from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com for US$200,000.[30] The domain had belonged to AboutFace Corporation.

Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook, in his Harvard dorm room, 2005

In May 2005, Accel Partners invested $12.7 million in Facebook, and Jim Breyer[31] added $1 million of his own money. A high-school version of the site launched in September 2005.[32] Eligibility expanded to include employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft.[33]

2006-2012: public access, Microsoft alliance, and rapid growth

On September 26, 2006, Facebook opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address.[34][35][36] By late 2007, Facebook had 100,000 pages on which companies promoted themselves.[37] Organization pages began rolling out in May 2009.[38] On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. Microsoft's purchase included rights to place international advertisements.[39][40]

In October 2008, Facebook announced that its international headquarters would locate in Dublin, Ireland.[41] In September 2009, Facebook said that it had achieved positive cash flow for the first time.[42] A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users.[43]

The company announced 500 million users in July 2010.[44] Half of the site's membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site from mobile devices. A company representative called the milestone a "quiet revolution."[45] In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc. (an exchange for privately held companies' shares), Facebook's value was $41 billion. The company had slightly surpassed eBay to become the third largest American web company after Google and Amazon.com.[46][47]

On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced it had acquired the domain name fb.com from the American Farm Bureau Federation for an undisclosed amount. On January 11, 2011, the Farm Bureau disclosed $8.5 million in "domain sales income", making the acquisition of FB.com one of the ten highest domain sales in history.[48]

In February 2011, Facebook announced plans to move its headquarters to the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California.[49][50] In March 2011, it was reported that Facebook was removing about 20,000 profiles daily for violations such as spam, graphic content and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber security.[51] Statistics showed that Facebook reached one trillion page views in the month of June 2011, making it the most visited website tracked by DoubleClick.[52][53] According to a Nielsen study, Facebook had in 2011 become the second-most accessed website in the U.S. behind Google.[54][55]

Facebook was blocked by China in 2009.[56]

2012-2013: IPO, lawsuits, and one-billionth user

In March 2012, Facebook announced App Center, a store selling applications that operate via the website. The store was to be available on iPhones, Android devices, and mobile web users.[57] In April 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock.

Facebook's initial public offering came on May 17, 2012, at a share price of US$38. The company was valued at $104 billion, the largest valuation to that date.[58][59][60] The IPO raised $16 billion, the third-largest in U.S. history, after Visa Inc. in 2008 and AT&T Wireless in 2000.[61][62] Based on its 2012 income of $5 billion, Facebook joined the Fortune 500 list for the first time in May 2013, ranked 462.[63] The shares set a first day record for trading volume of an IPO (460 million shares).[64] The IPO was controversial given the immediate price declines that followed.[65][66][67][65][68] and was the subject of lawsuits,[69] while SEC and FINRA both launched investigations.[70]

Billboard on the Thomson Reuters building welcomes Facebook to NASDAQ, 2012

Zuckerberg announced at the start of October 2012 that Facebook had one billion monthly active users,[71] including 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads and 140 billion friend connections.[72]

2013-2014: Site developments, A4AI, and 10th anniversary

On January 15, 2013, Facebook announced Facebook Graph Search, which provides users with a "precise answer", rather than a link to an answer by leveraging data present on its site.[73] Facebook emphasized that the feature would be "privacy-aware", returning results only from content already shared with the user.[74] On April 3, 2013, Facebook unveiled Facebook Home, a user-interface layer for Android devices offering greater integration with the site. HTC announced HTC First, a phone with Home pre-loaded.[75]

On April 15, 2013, Facebook announced an alliance across 19 states with the National Association of Attorneys General, to provide teenagers and parents with information on tools to manage social networking profiles.[76] On April 19 Facebook modified its logo to remove the faint blue line at the bottom of the "F" icon. The letter F moved closer to the edge of the box.[77]

Following a campaign by 100 advocacy groups, Facebook agreed to update its policy on hate speech. The campaign highlighted content promoting domestic and sexual violence against women and led 15 advertisers to withdrawal, including Nissan UK, House of Burlesque and Nationwide UK. The company initially stated, "while it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies".[78] It took action on May 29.[79]

On June 12, Facebook announced that it was introducing clickable hashtags to help users follow trending discussions, or search what others are talking about on a topic.[80]San Mateo County, California, became the top wage-earning county in the country after the fourth quarter of 2012 because of Facebook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary was 107% higher than the previous year, at $168,000 a year, more than 50% higher than the next-highest county, New York County (better known as Manhattan), at roughly $110,000 a year.[81]

Facebook joined Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in October, as it launched. The A4AI is a coalition of public and private organizations that includes Google, Intel and Microsoft. Led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the A4AI seeks to make Internet access more affordable to ease access in the developing world.[82] On October 13, Facebook acquired Onavo, an Israeli mobile web analytics company.[83][84]Standard & Poor's added Facebook to its S&P 500 index on December 21.[85]

In February 2014, Facebook announced that it would be buying mobile messaging company WhatsApp for US$19 billion in cash and stock.[86][87]

In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2.3 billion in stock and cash,[88] which released its first consumer virtual reality headset in 2016.

The company celebrated its 10th anniversary during the week of February 3, 2014.[89] In January 2014, over one billion users connected via a mobile device.[90] As of June, mobile accounted for 62% of advertising revenue, an increase of 21% from the previous year.[91] By September Facebook's market capitalization had exceeded $200 billion.[92][93][94]

Zuckerberg participated in a Q&A session at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on October 23, where he attempted to converse in Mandarin. Zuckerberg hosted visiting Chinese politician Lu Wei, known as the "Internet czar" for his influence in China's online policy, in December 8.

2015-present: Fake news

As of January 21, 2015, Facebook's algorithm was revised in an attempt to filter out false or misleading content, such as fake news stories and hoaxes. It relied on users who flag a story accordingly. Facebook maintained that satirical content should not be intercepted.[95] The algorithm was accused of maintaining a "filter bubble", where material the user disagrees with[96] and posts with few likes would be deprioritized.[97] In November Facebook extended paternity leave from 4 weeks to 4 months.[98]

On April 12, 2016, Zuckerberg outlined his 10 year vision, which rested on three main pillars: artificial intelligence, increased global connectivity and virtual/augmented reality.[99] In June Facebook announced Deep Text, a natural language processing AI that learns user intent and context in 20 languages.[100] In July a US$1 billion suit was filed against the company alleging that it permitted Hamas to use it to perform assaults that cost the lives of four people.[101] Facebook released its blueprints of Surround 360 camera on GitHub under an open-source license.[102] In September it won an Emmy for its animated short "Henry".[103] In October Facebook announced a fee-based communications tool called Workplace that aims to "connect everyone" at work. Users can create profiles, see updates from co-workers on their news feed, stream live video and participate in secure group chats.[104]

Following the 2016 presidential election, Facebook announced that it would combat fake news by using fact checkers from sites like FactCheck.org and Associated Press (AP), making reporting hoaxes easier through crowdsourcing, and disrupting financial incentives for abusers.[105]

On January 17, 2017, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg planned to open Station F, a startup incubator campus in Paris, France.[106] On a six-month cycle, Facebook committed to work with ten to 15 data-driven startups there.[107] On April 18 Facebook announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces at its annual F8 developer conference.[108] Facebook Spaces is a virtual reality version of Facebook for Oculus VR goggles. In a virtual and shared space, users can access a curated selection of 360-degree photos and videos using their avatar, with the support of the controller. Users can access their own photos and videos, along with media shared on their newsfeed.[109] In September Facebook announced it would spend up to US$1 billion on original shows for its Facebook Watch platform.[110] On October 16 it acquired the anonymous compliment app tbh, announcing its intention to leave the app independent.[111][112][113][114]

In May 2018 at F8, the company announced it would offer its own dating service. Shares in competitor Match Group fell by 22%.[115]Facebook Dating includes privacy features and friends will be unable to view their friends' dating profile.[116] In July Facebook was charged £500,000 by UK watchdogs for failing to respond to data erasure requests.[117] On July 18 Facebook established a subsidiary named Lianshu Science & Technology in Hangzhou City, China, with $30 million of capital. All its shares are held by Facebook Hong.[118] Approval of the registration of the subsidiary was then withdrawn, due to a disagreement between officials in Zhejiang province and the Cyberspace Administration of China.[119] On July 26 Facebook became the first company to lose over $100 billion worth of market capitalization in one day, dropping from nearly $630 billion to $510 billion after disappointing sales reports.[120][121] On July 31 Facebook said that the company had deleted 17 accounts related to the 2018 American elections. On September 19 Facebook announced that, for news distribution outside the United States, it would work with U.S. funded democracy promotion organizations, International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, which are loosely affiliated with the Democratic and Republican parties.[122] Through the Digital Forensic Research Lab Facebook partners with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-affiliated think tank.[122] In November Facebook launched smart displays branded Portal and Portal Plus (Portal+). They support Amazon's Alexa (intelligent personal assistant service). The devices include video chat function with Facebook Messenger.[123][124]

In January 2019, the 10 year challenge was started[125] asking users to post a photograph of themselves from 10 years ago (2009) and a more recent photo.[126]

Criticized for its role in vaccine hesitancy, Facebook announced in March 2019 that it would provide users with "authoritative information" on the topic of vaccines.[127]

On March 14, Huffington Post reported that Facebook's PR agency had paid someone to tweak Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's popflock.com resource page, as well as adding a page for the global head of PR, Caryn Marooney.[128]

Corporate affairs


Facebook's key management personnel consists of Mark Zuckerberg (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer), Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer), David Wehner (Chief Financial Officer), Mike Schroepfer (Chief Technology Officer) and Chris Cox (Chief Product Officer).[129] As of June 30, 2017, Facebook had 20,658 employees.[130]


(in millions US$)
Year Revenue Growth
2004 $0.4[131] --
2005 $9[131] 2150%
2006 $48[131] 433%
2007 $153[131] 219%
2008 $280[132] 83%
2009 $775[133] 177%
2010 $2,000[134] 158%
2011 $3,711[135] 86%
2012 $5,089[136] 37%
2013 $7,872[136] 55%
2014 $12,466[137] 58%
2015 $17,928[138] 44%
2016 $27,638[139] 54%
2017 $40,653[140] 47%
2018 $55,013[141] 38%

Facebook ranked No. 76 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.[142] Most comes from advertising.[143][144]

Significant revenue comes from bulk data access sold to the third parties.[145][146]

Chart of Facebook's stock

Number of advertisers

In February 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached two million active advertisers with most of the gain coming from small businesses. An active advertiser is an advertiser that has advertised on the Facebook platform in the last 28 days.[147] In March 2016, Facebook announced that it reached three million active advertisers with more than 70% from outside the US.[148] Prices for advertising follow a variable pricing model based on ad auction bids, potential engagement levels of the advertisement itself. Similar to other onlien advertising platforms like google and twitter, targeting of advertisements is one of the chief merits of advertising visa a vis traditional mass advertising modes like television and print. Marketing on facebook is employed through two methods based on the surfing habits, likes and shares, and purchasing data of the audience, namely targeted audiences and "look alike" audiences.[149]

Mergers and acquisitions

Facebook's major acquisitions include Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus Rift.


Users outside of the US and Canada contract with Facebook's Irish subsidiary "Facebook Ireland Limited". This allows Facebook to avoid US taxes for all users in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. Facebook is making use of the Double Irish arrangement which allows it to pay just about 2-3% corporation tax on all international revenue.[150] In 2010, Facebook opened its fourth office, in Hyderabad[151][152][153] and the first in Asia.[154]

Facebook's Hyderabad center houses online advertising and developer support teams and provide support to users and advertisers.[155] In India Facebook is registered as 'Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd'.[156][157][158] It also has support centers in Dublin, California, Ireland and Austin, Texas.[159]

Facebook opened its London headquarters in 2017 in Fitzrovia in central London. Facebook opened an office in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2018. The offices were initially home to Facebook's "Connectivity Lab", a group focused on bringing Internet access those who do not have access to the Internet.[160]

Data centers

As of 2019 the company operated 15 data center locations. Facebook committed to purchase 100 percent renewable energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2020. Data center technologies include Fabric Aggregator, a distributed network system that accommodates larger regions and varied traffic patterns.[161]

The StatePoint Liquid Cooling (SPLC) system is an evaporative cooling system that uses water to drive cooling.[161]

Tax affairs

The US IRS challenged the valuation Facebook used when it transferred IP from the US to Facebook Ireland in 2010 (which Facebook Ireland then revalued higher before charging out), as it was building its double Irish tax structure.[162][163] The case is ongoing and Facebook faces a potential fine of $3-5bn.[164]

The US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed Facebook's global tax calculations. Facebook Ireland is subject to the US GILTI tax of 10.5% on global intangible profits (i.e. Irish profits). On the basis that Facebook Ireland is paying some tax, the effective minimum US tax for Facebook Ireland will be circa 11%. In contrast, Facebook Inc. would incur a special IP tax rate of 13.125% (the FDII rate) if its Irish business relocated to the US. Tax relief in the US (21% vs. Irish at the GILTI rate) and accelerated capital expensing, would make this effective US rate around 12%.[165][166][167]

The insignificance of the US/Irish tax difference was demonstrated when Facebook moved 1.5bn non-EU accounts to the US to limit exposure to GDPR.[168][169]


Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005
Previous Facebook logo in use from August 23, 2005 until July 1, 2015

Technical aspects

The website's primary color is blue as Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, a realization that occurred after a test undertaken around 2007[170][171] Facebook is built in PHP, compiled with HipHop for PHP, a "source code transformer" built by Facebook engineers that turns PHP into C++.[172] The deployment of HipHop reportedly reduced average CPU consumption on Facebook servers by 50%.[173]

2012 architecture

Facebook is developed as one monolithic application. According to an interview in 2012 with Chuck Rossi, a build engineer at Facebook, Facebook compiles into a 1.5 GB binary blob which is then distributed to the servers using a custom BitTorrent-based release system. Rossi stated that it takes about 15 minutes to build and 15 minutes to release to the servers. The build and release process has zero downtime. Changes to Facebook are rolled out daily.[173]

Facebook used a combination platform based on HBase to store data across distributed machines. Using a tailing architecture, events are stored in log files, and the logs are tailed. The system rolls these events up and writes them to storage. The user interface then pulls the data out and displays it to users. Facebook handles requests as AJAX behavior. These requests are written to a log file using Scribe (developed by Facebook).[174]

Data is read from these log files using Ptail, an internally built tool to aggregate data from multiple Scribe stores. It tails the log files and pulls data out. Ptail data are separated into three streams and sent to clusters in different data centers (Plugin impression, News feed impressions, Actions (plugin + news feed)). Puma is used to manage periods of high data flow (Input/Output or IO). Data is processed in batches to lessen the number of times needed to read and write under high demand periods (A hot article generates many impressions and news feed impressions that cause huge data skews). Batches are taken every 1.5 seconds, limited by memory used when creating a hash table.[174]

Data is then output in PHP format. The backend is written in Java. Thrift is used as the messaging format so PHP programs can query Java services. Caching solutions display pages more quickly. The data is then sent to MapReduce servers where it is queried via Hive. This serves as a backup as the data can be recovered from Hive.[174]


On March 20, 2014, Facebook announced a new open-source programming language called Hack. Before public release, a large portion of Facebook was already running and "battle tested" using the new language.[175]

Facebook uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to deliver the enormous volume of emails it sends to its users every day.[176]


On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced "Facebook Beta", a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a cleaner look.[177] Facebook began migrating users to the new version in September 2008.[178]

User profile/personal timeline

Facebook login/signup screen

Each registered user on Facebook has a personal profile that shows their posts and content.[179] The format of individual user pages was revamped in September 2011 and became known as "Timeline", a chronological feed of a user's stories,[180][181] including status updates, photos, interactions with apps and events.[182] The layout let users add a "cover photo".[182] Users were given more privacy settings.[182] In 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Pages for brands and celebrities to interact with their fanbase.[183][184] 100,000 Pages launched in November.[185] In June 2009, Facebook introduced a "Usernames" feature, allowing users to choose a unique nickname used in the URL for their personal profile, for easier sharing.[186][187]

In February 2014, Facebook expanded the gender setting, adding a custom input field that allows users to choose from a wide range of gender identities. Users can also set which set of gender-specific pronoun should be used in reference to them throughout the site.[188][189][190] In May 2014, Facebook introduced a feature to allow users to ask for information not disclosed by other users on their profiles. If a user does not provide key information, such as location, hometown, or relationship status, other users can use a new "ask" button to send a message asking about that item to the user in a single click.[191][192]

News Feed

News Feed appears on every user's homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events and friends' birthdays.[193] This enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause.[194] Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, others were concerned that it made it too easy for others to track individual activities (such as relationship status changes, events, and conversations with other users).[195] Zuckerberg apologized for the site's failure to include appropriate privacy features. Users then gained control over what types of information are shared automatically with friends. Users are now able to prevent user-set categories of friends from seeing updates about certain types of activities, including profile changes, Wall posts and newly added friends.[196]

On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted a patent[197] on certain aspects of its News Feed. The patent covers News Feeds in which links are provided so that one user can participate in the activity of another user.[198] The sorting and display of stories in a user's News Feed is governed by the EdgeRank algorithm.[199]

The Photos application allows users to upload albums and photos.[200] Each album can contain 200 photos.[201] Privacy settings apply to individual albums. Users can "tag", or label, friends in a photo. The friend receives a notification about the tag with a link to the photo.[202]

On June 7, 2012, Facebook launched its App Center to help users find games and other applications.[203]

On May 13, 2015, Facebook in association with major news portals launched "Instant Articles" to provide news on the Facebook news feed without leaving the site.[204][205]

In January 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Stories for iOS and Android in Ireland. The feature, following the format of Snapchat and Instagram stories, allows users to upload photos and videos that appear above friends' and followers' News Feeds and disappear after 24 hours.[206]

On October 11, 2017, Facebook introduced the 3D Posts feature to allow for uploading interactive 3D assets.[207] On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced that it would change News Feed to prioritize friends/family content and de-emphasize content from media companies.[208]

Like button

The "like" button, stylized as a "thumbs up" icon, was first enabled on February 9, 2009,[209] and enables users to easily interact with status updates, comments, photos and videos, links shared by friends, and advertisements. Once clicked by a user, the designated content is more likely to appear in friends' News Feeds.[210][211] The button displays the number of other users who have liked the content.[212] The like button was extended to comments in June 2010.[213] Facebook expanded Like into "Reactions", choosing among five pre-defined emotions, including "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Sad", or "Angry".[214][215][216][217]

Instant messaging

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application. It began as Facebook Chat in 2008,[218] was revamped in 2010[219] and eventually became a standalone mobile app in August 2011, while remaining part of the user page on browsers.[220]

Complementing regular conversations, Messenger lets users make one-to-one[221] and group[222]voice[223] and video calls.[224] Its Android app has integrated support for SMS[225] and "Chat Heads", which are round profile photo icons appearing on-screen regardless of what app is open,[226] while both apps support multiple accounts,[227] conversations with optional end-to-end encryption[228] and "Instant Games".[229] Some features, including sending money[230] and requesting transportation,[231] are limited to the United States.[230] In 2017, Facebook added "Messenger Day", a feature that lets users share photos and videos in a story-format with all their friends with the content disappearing after 24 hours;[232] Reactions, which lets users tap and hold a message to add a reaction through an emoji;[233] and Mentions, which lets users in group conversations type @ to give a particular user a notification.[233]

Businesses and users can interact through Messenger with features such as tracking purchases and receiving notifications, and interacting with customer service representatives. Third-party developers can integrate apps into Messenger, letting users enter an app while inside Messenger and optionally share details from the app into a chat.[234] Developers can build chatbots into Messenger, for uses such as news publishers building bots to distribute news.[235] The M virtual assistant (U.S.) scans chats for keywords and suggests relevant actions, such as its payments system for users mentioning money.[236][237] Group chatbots appear in Messenger as "Chat Extensions". A "Discovery" tab allows finding bots, and enabling special, branded QR codes that, when scanned, take the user to a specific bot.[238]


Users can "Follow" content posted by other users without needing to friend them.[239] Accounts can be "verified", confirming a user's identity.[240]

Privacy controls

PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Facebook and Yahoo!.[241]

Facebook enables users to control access to individual posts and their profile[242] through privacy settings.[243] The user's name and profile picture (if applicable) are public. Facebook's revenue depends on targeted advertising, which involves analyzing user data (from the site and the broader internet) to inform the targeting. These facilities have changed repeatedly since the service's debut, amid a series of controversies covering everything from how well it secures user data, to what extent it allows users to control access, to the kinds of access given to third parties, including businesses, political campaigns and governments. These facilities vary according to country, as some nations require the company to make data available (and limit access to services), while the European Union's GDPR regulation mandates additional privacy protections.[244]

Facebook Bug Bounty Program

A Facebook "White Hat" debit card, given to researchers who report security bugs.

On July 29, 2011, Facebook announced its Bug Bounty Program that paid security researchers a minimum of $500 for reporting security holes. The company promised not to pursue "white hat" hackers who identified such problems.[245][246] This led researchers in many countries to participate, particularly in India and Russia.[247]


Most popular social networking sites by country in 2015
  No Data

User growth

Facebook's rapid growth began as soon as it became available and has continued through 2018.

Facebook passed 100 million registered users in 2008,[248] and 500 million in July 2010.[44] According to the company's data at the July 2010 announcement, half of the site's membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site by mobile.[45]

In October 2012 Facebook's monthly active users passed one billion,[71][249] with 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections.[72] The 2 billion user mark was crossed in June 2017.[250][251]

In November 2015, after skepticism about the accuracy of its "monthly active users" measurement, Facebook changed its definition to a logged-in member who visits the Facebook site through the web browser or mobile app, or uses the Facebook Messenger app, in the 30 day period prior to the measurement. This excluded the use of third-party services with Facebook integration, which was previously counted.[252]


The highest number of Facebook users as of October 2018 are from India and the United States, followed by Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico.[254] Region-wise, the highest number of users are from Asia-Pacific (947 million) followed by Europe (381 million) and US&Canada (242 million). The rest of the world have 750 million users.[255] Over the 2008-2018 period, the percentage of users under 34 declined to less than half of the total.[244]


The website has won awards such as placement into the "Top 100 Classic Websites" by PC Magazine in 2007,[256] and winning the "People's Voice Award" from the Webby Awards in 2008.[257]

In 2010, Facebook won the Crunchie "Best Overall Startup Or Product" award[258] for the third year in a row.[259]

In 2008, Collins English Dictionary declared "Facebook" as its new Word of the Year.[260] In December 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary declared its word of the year to be the verb "unfriend", defined as "To remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook".[261]


In August 2013, Facebook founded Internet.org in collaboration with 6 other technology companies to plan and help build afforable internet access for under developed and developing countries. Its goal was to bring internet access and the benefits of connectivity to the portion of the world that doesn't have them[262]. There was severe opposition to internet.org especially in India where the service started in partnership with Reliance communications in 2015 was banned a year later by TRAI[263].

Criticisms and controversies

Graffiti in Berlin of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The caption is a reference to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Facebook's importance and scale has led to criticisms in many domains. Notable issues include Internet privacy, excessive retention of user information,[264] its facial recognition software,[265][266] its addictive quality[267] and its role in the workplace, including employer access to employee accounts.[268]

Facebook is alleged to have psychological effects, including feelings of jealousy[269][270] and stress,[271][272] a lack of attention[273] and social media addiction.[274][275]

European antitrust regulator Margrethe Vestager stated that Facebook's terms of service relating to private data were "unbalanced".[276]

Facebook has been criticized for electricity usage,[277] tax avoidance,[278] real-name user requirement policies,[279] censorship[280][281] and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program.[282]

Facebook has been criticized for allowing users to publish illegal and/or offensive material. Specifics include copyright and intellectual property infringement,[283]hate speech,[284][285] incitement of rape[286] and terrorism,[287][288]fake news,[289][290][291] and crimes, murders, and livestreaming violent incidents.[292][293][294]

According to The Express Tribune, Facebook "avoided billions of dollars in tax using offshore companies".[295]


Facebook has faced a steady stream of controversies over how it protects user privacy, repeatedly adjusting its privacy settings and policies.[296]

In 2010, the US National Security Agency began taking publicly posted profile information from Facebook, among other social media services.[297]

On November 29, 2011, Facebook settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises.[298] In August 2013 High-Tech Bridge published a study showing that links included in Facebook messaging service messages were being accessed by Facebook.[299] In January 2014 two users filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that their privacy had been violated by this practice.[300]

On June 7, 2018 Facebook announced that a bug had resulted in about 14 million Facebook users having their default sharing setting for all new posts set to "public".[301]

Shadow profiles

A "shadow profile" is data about a user other than the official profile or explicitly shared content. For example the "like" button that appears on third-party websites allows the company to collect information about the user's internet browsing.[302][303] Such data includes information about non-users and location data from a user's phone.[304]

Cambridge Analytica

Facebook customer Global Science Research sold information on over 87 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm.[305] While approximately 270,000 people used the app, Facebook's API permitted data collection from their friends without their knowledge.[306] At first Facebook downplayed the significance of the breach, and suggested that Cambridge Analytica no longer had access. Facebook then issued a statement expressing alarm and suspended Cambridge Analytica. Review of documents and interviews with former Facebook employees suggested that Cambridge Analytica still possessed the data.[307] This was a violation of Facebook's consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. This violation potentially carried a penalty of $40,000 per occurrence, totaling trillions of dollars.[308]

According to The Guardian both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica threatened to sue the newspaper if it published the story. After publication, Facebook claimed that it had been "lied to". On March 23, 2018, The English High Court granted an application by the Information Commissioner's Office for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's London offices, ending a standoff between Facebook and the Information Commissioner over responsibility.[309]

On March 25, Facebook published a statement by Zuckerberg in major UK and US newspapers apologizing over a "breach of trust".[310]

You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014. This was a breach of trust, and I'm sorry we didn't do more at the time. We're now taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again.

We've already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we're limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.

We're also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.

Finally, we'll remind you which apps you've give access to your information - so you can shut off the ones you don't want anymore.

Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.

On March 26, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into the matter.[311] The controversy led Facebook to end its partnerships with data brokers who aid advertisers in targeting users.[296]

Facebook also implemented additional privacy controls and settings[312] in part to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May.[313] Facebook also ended its active opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act.[314]


On September 28, 2018, Facebook saw a drop in its share price by 3% due to a major breach in its security, exposing the data of 50 million users. The data breach started in July 2017 and was discovered on September 16.[315] Facebook notified users affected by the exploit and logged them out of their accounts.[316][317]

Phone data and activity

Facebook used the Onavo Protect virtual private network (VPN) app to collect information on users' web traffic and app usage. This allowed Facebook to monitor its competitors' performance.[318][319][320] Media outlets classified Onavo Protect as spyware.[321][322][323] In August 2018, Facebook removed the app in response to pressure from Apple, who asserted that it violated their guidelines.[324][325]

In 2016, Facebook Research launched Project Atlas, offering some users between the ages of 13 and 35 up to $20 per month in exchange for their personal data, including their app usage, web browsing history, web search history, location history, personal messages, photos, videos, emails and Amazon order history.[326][327] In January 2019, TechCrunch reported on the project. This led Apple to temporarily revoke Facebook's Enterprise Developer Program certificates for one day, preventing Facebook Research from operating on iOS devices and disabling Facebook's internal iOS apps.[327][328][329]

Ars Technica reported in April 2018 that the Facebook Android app had been harvesting user data, including phone calls and text messages, since 2015.[330][331][332] In May 2018, several Android users filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook for invading their privacy.[333][334]

Wikipedia White Washing

Huffington Post on 03/14/2019 reported that Facebook paid Ed Sussman To Whitewash popflock.com resource Pages.[335]

Public apologies

The company first apologized for its privacy abuses in 2009.[336]

Facebook apologies have appeared in newspapers, television, blog posts and on Facebook.[337] On March 25, 2018, leading US and UK newspapers published full-page ads with a personal apology from Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg issued a verbal apology on CNN.[338] In May 2010, he apologized for discrepancies in privacy settings.[337]

Previously, Facebook had its privacy settings spread out over 20 pages, and has now put all of its privacy settings on one page, which makes it harder for third-party apps to access the user's personal information.[296] In addition to publicly apologizing, Facebook has said that it will be reviewing and auditing thousands of apps that display "suspicious activities" in an effort to ensure that this breach of privacy does not happen again.[339] In a 2010 report regarding privacy, a research project stated that not a lot of information is available regarding the consequences of what people disclose online so often what is available are just reports made available through popular media.[340] In 2017, a former Facebook executive went on the record to discuss how social media platforms have contributed to the unraveling of the "fabric of society".[341]

User content

Facebook relies on its users to generate the content that bonds its users to the service. The company has come under criticism both for allowing objectionable content and for prohibiting other content that it deems inappropriate.

Controversial content includes conspiracy theories, fringe discourse,[342]

Facebook has repeatedly amended its content policies. In July 2018, it stated that it would "downrank" articles that its fact-checkers determined to be false, and remove misinformation that incited violence.[343] Zuckerberg once stated that it was unclear whether Holocaust deniers on Facebook intended to deceive others,[344] for which he later apologized.[345] Facebook stated that content that receives "false" ratings from its fact-checkers can be demonetized and suffer dramatically reduced distribution. Specific posts and videos that violate community standards can be removed on Facebook.[344]


Facebook was criticized for allowing InfoWars to publish falsehoods and conspiracy theories.[346][344][345][347][348] Facebook defended its actions in regards to InfoWars, saying "we just don't think banning Pages for sharing conspiracy theories or false news is the right way to go."[346] Facebook provided only six cases in which it fact-checked content on the InfoWars page over the period September 2017 to July 2018.[344] In 2018 InfoWars falsely claimed that the survivors of the Parkland shooting were "actors". Facebook pledged to remove InfoWars content making the claim, although InfoWars videos pushing the false claims were left up, even though Facebook had been contacted about the videos.[344] Facebook stated that the videos never explicitly called them actors.[344] Facebook also allowed InfoWars videos that shared the Pizzagate conspiracy theory to survive, despite specific assertions that it would purge Pizzagate content.[344] In late July 2018 Facebook suspended the personal profile of InfoWars head Alex Jones for 30 days.[349] In early August 2018, Facebook banned the four most active Infowars-related pages for hate speech.[350]

Fake news

One conspiracy was that the United States created ISIS.[351] False anti-Rohingya posts stoked tensions in Myanmar.[352] Myanmar's military used Facebook to fuel genocide and ethnic cleansing against them.[353]Sandy Hook conspiracists used the platform.[354] Facebook usage was linked to anti-refugee attacks in Germany.[355][356][357] In a 2017 article, The Philippine government used Facebook as a tool to attack its critics.[358]

Professor Ilya Somin reported that he had been the subject of death threats on Facebook in April 2018 from Cesar Sayoc. Sayoc threatened to kill Somin and his family and "feed the bodies to Florida alligators". Somin's Facebook friends reported the comments to Facebook, which did nothing except dispatch automated messages.[359] Sayoc was arrested for the October United States mail bombing attempts directed at Democratic politicians.

Definers Public Affairs and Soros

In October 2017, Facebook expanded its work with Definers Public Affairs, which originally monitored press coverage to address concerns regarding Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech and calls for protection through regulation.[360] Company spokesman Tim Miller state that a goal should be to "have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that's being pushed out about your competitor". Definers claimed that George Soros was the force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement. Definers created other negative media, along with America Rising, that was picked up by larger media organisations like Breitbart.[360][361] Facebook cut ties with the agency in late 2018.[362]

Company governance

Early Facebook investor and former Zuckerberg mentor Roger McNamee described Facebook as having ""the most centralized decision-making structure I have ever encountered in a large company."[363]Nathan Schneider, a professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder argued for transforming Facebook into a platform cooperative owned and governed by the users.[364]


The company has been subject to repeated litigation.[365][366][367][368] Its most prominent case addressed allegations that Zuckerberg broke an oral contract with Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra to build the then-named "HarvardConnection" social network in 2004.[369][370][371]

On March 6, 2018 BlackBerry sued Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp subdivision for ripping off key features of its messaging app.[372]

In 2019 British solicitors representing a bullied Syrian schoolboy, sued Facebook over false claims. They claimed that Facebook protected prominent figures from scrutiny instead of removing content that violates its rules and that the special treatment was financially driven.[373][374]

In October 2018 a Texas woman sued Facebook, claiming she had been recruited into the sex trade at the age of 15 by a man who "friended" her on the social media network. Facebook responded that it works both internally and externally to ban sex traffickers.[375][376]


Facebook on the ad:tech 2010


Economists have noted that Facebook offers many non-rivalrous services that benefit as many users as are interested without forcing users to compete with each other. By contrast, most goods are available to a limited number of users. E.g., if one user buys a phone, no other user can by that phone. Three areas add the most economic impact: platform competition, the market place and user behavior data.[377]

Facebook began to reduce its carbon impact after Greenpeace attacked it for its long-term reliance on coal and resulting carbon footprint.[378]

Facebook provides a development platform for many social gaming, communication, feedback, review, and other applications related to online activities. This platform spawned many businesses and added thousands of jobs to the global economy. Zynga Inc., a leader in social gaming, is an example of such a businesses. An econometric analysis found that Facebook's app development platform added more than 182,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2011. The total economic value of the added employment was about $12 billion.[379]


Facebook was the first social network to connect billions of people. Social networking allows people to stay in touch with friends, relatives and acquaintances wherever they are in the world. It can reunite lost family members and friends.[380][381] It allows users to trade ideas and stay informed. It unites people with common interests and/or beliefs.[382][383]

Facebook has changed how people communicate. It is a publishing platform that allows users to share content with others, possibly at a global scale.[384] One study found that informational uses were more correlated to civic and political action than to recreation.[385][better source needed]

In The Facebook Effect David Kirkpatrick stated that Facebook's structure makes it difficult to replace, because of its "network effects". He notes how difficult it would be to move all of a user's relationships and photos to an alternative.

Facebook lets people participate in an atmosphere with the "over the backyard fence" of a neighborhood, despite the actual distance involved.[386] As of 2016, 44 percent of the US population gets news through Facebook.[387]

Emotional health

Studies have associated social networks with positive[388] and negative impacts[389][390][391][392][393] on emotional health. Studies have associated Facebook with feelings of envy, often triggered by vacation and holiday photos. Other triggers include posts by friends about family happiness and images of physical beauty--such feelings leave people dissatisfied with their own lives. A joint study by two German universities discovered that one out of three people were more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook,[394][395] and another study by Utah Valley University found that college students felt worse about themselves following an increase in time on Facebook.[395][396][397]

Professor Larry D. Rosen stated that teenagers on Facebook exhibit more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults show signs of antisocial behavior, mania and aggressiveness. Positive effects included signs of "virtual empathy" towards online friends and helping introverted persons learn social skills.[398]

In a blog post in December 2017, the company highlighted research that has shown "passively consuming" the News Feed, as in reading but not interacting, left users with negative feelings afterwards, whereas interacting with messages pointed to improvements in well-being.[399]


A man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying "Facebook,#jan25, The Egyptian Social Network"

In February 2008, a Facebook group called "One Million Voices Against FARC" organized an event in which hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).[400] In August 2010, one of North Korea's official government websites and the country's official news agency, Uriminzokkiri, joined Facebook.[401]

During the Arab Spring many journalists claimed that Facebook played a major role in the 2011 Egyptian revolution.[402][403] On January 14, the Facebook page of "We are all Khaled Said" was started by Wael Ghoniem to invite the Egyptian people to "peaceful demonstrations" on January 25. According to Mashable,[unreliable source?] in Tunisia and Egypt, Facebook became the primary tool for connecting protesters and led the Egyptian government to ban Facebook, Twitter and other websites on January 26[404] then ban all mobile and Internet connections for all of Egypt on January 28. After 18 days, the uprising forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign.

In Bahrain an uprising that started on February 14, 2011, Facebook was utilized by the Bahraini regime and regime loyalists to identify, capture and prosecute citizens involved in the protests. A 20-year-old woman named Ayat Al Qurmezi was identified as a protester using Facebook and imprisoned.[405]

In 2011, Facebook filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a political action committee under the name FB PAC.[406] In an email to The Hill, a spokesman for Facebook said "Facebook Political Action Committee will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."[407]

During the Syrian civil war, the YPG, a libertarian army for Rojava recruited westerners through Facebook in its fight against ISIL.[408][better source needed] Dozens joined its ranks. The Facebook page's name "The Lions of Rojava" comes from a Kurdish saying which translates as "A lion is a lion, whether it's a female or a male", reflecting the organization's feminist ideology.[409]

United States

Facebook first played role in the American political process in January 2008, shortly before the New Hampshire primary. Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live feedback about the "back to back" January 5 Republican and Democratic debates.[410][411][412] Facebook users took part in debate groups on specific topics, voter registration and message questions.[413]

Over a million people installed the Facebook application "US Politics on Facebook" in order to take part. The application measured responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates.[414] This debate showed the broader community that Facebook offered a new way to interact and voice opinions. A poll by CBS News, UWIRE and The Chronicle of Higher Education claimed to illustrate how the "Facebook effect" had affected youthful voters, increasing voting rates, support of political candidates, and general involvement.[415]

The new social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, connected hundreds of millions of people. By 2008, politicians and interest groups were experimenting with systematic use of social media to spread their message.[416][417] By the 2016 election, political advertising to specific groups had become normalized. Facebook offered the most sophisticated targeting and analytics platform.[418]

According to Investor's Business Daily, "In 2012, the Obama campaign encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends."[419] Carol Davidsen, the Obama for America (OFA) former director of integration and media analytics, wrote that "Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn't stop us once they realised that was what we were doing."[420][421]

In October 2018, The Daily Telegraph reported that Facebook "banned hundreds of pages and accounts that it says were fraudulently flooding its site with partisan political content - although they came from the US instead of being associated with Russia."[422]

2016 elections

A Russian company bought more than $100,000 worth of Facebook ads during the 2016 presidential election.[423] Special Council Robert Mueller, contacted Facebook subsequently to the company's disclosure that it had sold ads to a company (Internet Research Agency) with links to the Russian intelligence community. The company pledged full cooperation in Mueller's investigation, and provided all information about the Russian advertisements, including the identities of the individuals and companies who made the purchases.[424] Russia used Facebook Events to organize anti-immigrant rallies on U.S. soil.[425] Facebook concluded that a 225,000-member anti-immigrant group that attempted to organize anti-Clinton rallies in Texas was "likely operated out of Russia".[426] Russians staged anti-Trump rallies in November 2016[427] and bought a Black Lives Matter Facebook ad.[428] Facebook enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of "Jew hater," "How to burn jews," or, "History of 'why Jews ruin the world".[429]

As of mid-September 2017 Facebook had not assessed the extent of Russia's advertisement purchases during the 2016 election -- or whether these unidentified ad buys were still on the site. A Facebook spokesman stated that "no sales support" was available.[430]

Facebook shared copies of ads and account information related to the Russian ad purchases on with Robert Mueller that go beyond what it shared with Congress. Facebook complied with search warrants issued by Mueller.[431] The Senate Intelligence committee sought information about Russia links with Facebook.[432] Facebook provided Russia-linked ads to Mueller.[433]

Congressional Committees[which?] claimed that Facebook was withholding information that could illuminate the Russian propaganda campaign.[434]

Facebook group "Being Patriotic" was made up of suspected Russian provocateurs explicitly mobilizing Trump supporters.[435] Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims. The Russians simultaneously sent contrary messages to different users based on their political and demographic characteristics and sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women. The ads suggest that Russian operatives worked off of lists of racial, religious, political and economic themes. They used these to create pages, write posts and craft ads with the apparent goal of appealing to one audience and alienating another.[436] Zuckerberg stated that he regretted dismissing election concerns.[437] Russians impersonated real American Muslims to stir chaos on Facebook and Instagram,[438]

Russian-American Billionaire Yuri Milner, who befriended Zuckerberg[439] between 2009 and 2011 had Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter.[440]

The Cambridge Analytica fiasco offered another approach to attempting to influence elections.[441][442]The Guardian claimed that Facebook had known about this security breach for two years, but did not stop nothing the practice until it became public.[443]


In many countries the social networking sites and mobile apps have been blocked temporarily or permanently, including China,[444]Iran,[445]Syria,[446] and North Korea. In May 2018, the government of Papua New Guinea announced that it would ban Facebook for a month while it considered the impact of the website on the country, though no ban has since occurred.[447]


Data from Facebook is used for different scientific investigations. One study examined how Facebook users interact with socially shared news and show that individuals' choices played a stronger role in limiting exposure to cross-cutting content.[448] Another study found that most of health science students acquied academic materials from others through Facebook.[449]

Signals from Facebook are also used in quality assessment of scientific works.[450] Facebook data can be used to assess the quality of Wikipedia articles.[451]


Facebook and Zuckerberg have been the subject of music, books, film and television.

In July 2014, Shakira became the first celebrity to reach 100 million likes.[452]Cristiano Ronaldo was the second to reach that milestone.[453][454] On March 15, 2015, Ronaldo surpassed Shakira to become the most liked person on Facebook.[455]

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