The story of Facebook: From Harvard dorm to world domination

Published: October 2, 2016
Marke Zuckerberg. PHOTO: Reuters

Marke Zuckerberg. PHOTO: Reuters

Facebook is a classic Silicon Valley success story — from a Harvard dorm to the top of the world.

Like Microsoft founder Bill Gates before him, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college in 2004 after founding Facebook to become the ultimate success story the world loves talking about.

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Here’s a look at the Facebook story in pictures

Facebook got its start at Harvard’s Kirkland House dormitory where sophomore Zuckerberg built a programme called Facemash in 2003.

PHOTO: Wikimedia

Facemash got 22,000 page views from 450 people within the first four hours it was up. However, only a few days after its launch, Harvard ordered it to be taken down as it used pictures Zuckerberg had hacked from the varsity’s ID files.

PHOTO: Facebook

An undeterred Zuckerberg launched Facebook on February 4, 2004 from the same dorm.

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Six days after the launch of Facebook, three Harvard seniors including twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss claimed Zuckerberg had used their ideas to create Facebook. They went on to file a lawsuit that was only settled in 2008 with them being given 1.2 million Facebook shares.

PHOTO: Reuters

As Facebook started to grow, Zuckerberg brought in fellow Harvard students Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes as cofounders to help manage and keep building the website into a business.

Dustin Moskovitz PHOTO: Reuters

Facebook’s first ad-sales pitch deck came out just a few months after the launch, and showed the site’s astounding early growth — and its limited functionality.


Up until this point, Facebook was still run out of Zuckerberg’s dorm room, but it was time to get serious.

PHOTO: Mark Zuckerberg

In 2004, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and hired Napster cofounder Sean Parker as the company’s first president.

Sean Parker PHOTO: AFP

Around the same time, Facebook moved into a tiny office in California’s Palo Alto in June, 2004. A barefoot Zuckerberg would often hang out there in shorts, beer in hand.

PHOTO: Facebook

Soon after, Facebook secured its first outside funding in the form of a $500,000 investment from famous ex-PayPal executive Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, who later went on to found Tesla Motors.

Peter Thiel PHOTO: Reuters

Facebook raised $13.7 million in funding in May, 2005. In 2006, Facebook created its iconic News Feed, giving people a real-time stream of what their friends were doing.

The early Facebook team pushes the button to launch the News Feed into the site PHOTO: Mark Zuckerberg

After meeting Google executive Sheryl Sandberg in late 2007, Zuckerberg convinced her to come onboard as COO in early 2008.

PHOTO: Reuters

In 2009, Facebook moved into a slightly larger Palo Alto office in the Stanford Research Park. By late 2010, it had hit a trillion page views a month.

PHTO: Wikimedia

In 2011, Facebook moved into a corporate campus once occupied by Sun Microsystems.

By then, Facebook had also established itself as a major political power. This was perhaps most striking in the 2011 Egyptian uprising — largely organised via social-networking sites.

PHOTO: Wikimedia

The social network had its historic $5 billion initial public offering on May 18, 2012.

The day after the IPO, Zuckerberg somehow found the time to marry his long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan, who he had met while still at Harvard.

PHOTO: Reuters

Facebook bought photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. It now has over 400 million users.

PHOTO: Reuters

In 2014, Facebook bought early-stage virtual-reality company Oculus for $2 billion and mobile-messaging company WhatsApp for $19 billion.

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WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum is now a Facebook board member and the service today boasts over a billion monthly users.

PHOTO: Reuters

Following the birth of their daughter Maxima Chan Zuckerberg on December 1 2015, Zuckerberg pledged 99% of his wealth to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. A limited-liability corporation, the company invests in world-changing causes.

Zuckerberg sells $95 million in Facebook shares for charity

PHOTO: Reuters

This year, Facebook opened a new campus designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry to support over 2,800 employees. The company continues to thrive, fired by Zuckerberg’s mission to connect everybody in the world.

This article originally appeared on The Independent.

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