Mark Zuckerberg and some of his fellow Harvard classmates launched “Thefacebook” in his dorm room on February 4, 2004. While the social-networking site, now simply called Facebook, is used by 2 out of every 7 people on the planet, it was originally only available at Harvard and other Ivy League schools that adopted the platform. It wasn’t until September 2006 that members of the general public was allowed to become a Facebook user, but it didn’t take long for the concept to catch fire – by the end of 2006, the number of users had more than doubled from 5.5 million to 12 million. Skip ahead to mid-2009, and Facebook surpasses MySpace as the number one social network in the U.S. It was about that time that they started making movies about the site and founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was just 25 when “The Social Network” was released. Facebook users continued to steadily climb and the company finally went public in early 2012. They had an initial IPO price of $38 which put the company’s value at $104 billion, the largest valuation to that date for a newly public company. At first, the shares struggled to maintain their IPO price, losing over a quarter of its starting value by the end of May. Of course things drastically turned around as the company continuously reported user growth and higher profitability over the successive quarters. Today, Facebook is valued at over $328 billion with a user base of 1.86 billion! Their latest earnings report released just this week showed total fourth-quarter revenues of $8.81 billion. What’s more, total profits doubled to $3.57 billion from $1.56 billion the year before. And Facebook is not done trying to generate further growth. The company is now focused on what CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called a “video-first” strategy, putting squarely in competition with Snapchat, a video-based social networking site with a fiercely loyal – and mostly younger – user base. Facebook continues to promote its live video and 360 video tools and is experimenting with more versatile camera filters. In August, Facebook-owned Instagram launched a near-identical feature to Snapchat’s “Stories”, which lets people post strings of videos and photos. They even kept the same name and are now experimenting with a Facebook version, also called “Stories.” Snapchat has already proved that the feature is extremely popular and Facebook hopes that it’s version can lure in more young users and keep their undeniably impressive growth streak going.
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