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 Fourtechnology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.
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 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.