In which year did Facebook launch?

And the answer: 2004.    

Photo credit: public domain. 

While a student at Harvard University, Mark Zuckerberg launched what he called "The Facebook." Within the first day, 1,200 students had signed up. Today the website has nearly 3 billion monthly users around the world.

Today, Facebook is the largest social network in the world, yet it certainly didn't start that way. In 2003, it began at Harvard as Facesmash, which was an online service much more reminiscent of a modern-day dating site. While it was popular in its 2-day existence (450 people flocked to the site and voted 22,000 times), it was quickly shut down due to Zuckerberg's improper acquisition of university resources. However, Zuckerberg was not deterred. In January of 2004, he registered a URL called The Facebook, and began developing a new social network that launched in February 2004.

The new site, known as "The Facebook," allowed Harvard students to post photographs, personal information, class schedules and even clubs they were a part of. Soon, the popularity of the site had expanded beyond Harvard, as other Ivy League institutions such as Yale and Stanford were allowed to join. By June 2004 more than 250,000 students from 34 schools had signed up, and by the end of the year it had surpassed a million active users.

In many ways, Facebook's novel popularity stems from its authenticity. From the beginning, Zuckerberg insisted that members be transparent about their identities by forbidding false profiles. This design allowed for more person-to-person contact on the site, which was ultimately a huge shift in marketing and advertisement strategies into the 2010s. Even political movements have found significant momentum on Facebook, as beginning in the 2008 election, individuals would form groups to support their preferred candidates.

Learn more about the history of Facebook here.

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