Love it or loath it… Facebook is about to turn 10

Facebook will celebrate its 10th birthday tomorrow and is likely to be an occasion that will see people reflecting on its past and wildly speculating on its future.

Mark Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook” from his dorm at Harvard University on 4 February, 2004. The site was designed as a way to connect students, and let them build an online identity for themselves.

Since then the site has expanded to cover most of the planet, with more than 1.2 billion people or roughly one-seventh of the world’s population accessing it on a monthly basis.

Zuckerberg reflected on the 10-year milestone at an industry conference in Silicon Valley last week. Not surprisingly, at the start he never envisioned Facebook becoming so large or influential. After launching the initial version he said, “it was awesome to have this utility and community at our school”.

He figured at the time that someone, someday would build such a site for the world. “It didn’t even occur to me that it could be us,” he said.

Facebook is now a public company and the site and business has changed dramatically since the early days. There are reportedly now more than a trillion status updates, text posts and other pieces of content stored within the company.

The company hasn’t always had it good, it was slow to react to the mobile market and when it went public in 2012 investors were sceptical it would be able to generate profit from its services through mobile devices – Since then Facebook has reported that half of its ad revenue now comes from mobile devices.

Facebook is also experimenting with new ways to present content. Next week it will release Paper, an iPhone app that provides a new way to share photos and published articles.

The company is also trying to bring the Internet to more people in the world, an effort that’s part philanthropy and part business as Facebook aims to reach another billion users.

Zuckerberg suggests that he feels a weight of responsibilitywhen asked why he is launching internet.org.

“There aren’t that many companies in the world that have the resources and the reach that Facebook has at this point.”

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