Facebook Turns 10: A Look Back At Technology Then and Now

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Today, Facebook is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  It is hard to imagine that ten years have gone by since this social network changed the world, socially and technologically.  In the past ten years Facebook, and other emerging social networks have changed the buyer persona, the behaviors and actions of society, and the way we see the world.  It also made the world a whole lot smaller.  Today we will look back at Facebook’s timeline in correlation with the past ten years, reviewing milestones, new technologies, and events that have shaped our world into what it is today.  So Happy Birthday Facebook; here’s to you and the ability to know when every person you are friends with works out at the gym!


  • In February 2004, Mark Zuckenberg launched Facebook (called the Facebook at the time) with co-founders Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.  
  • In December 2004, Facebook hit one million users.
  • On December 26th, 2004 a huge tsunami hit southeast Asia killing over 220,000 people.
  • On November 2, 2004 George Bush Jr. was re-elected president.
  • Gmail was made available to the public by Google on April 1, 2004.


  • In October 2005, Facebook went international (expanding to international schools) and added Facebook Photos.
  • On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated Lousianna, flooding New Orleans and costing the U.S. over $80 billion in damage.
  • Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005.
  • On July 7th, 2005 52 civilians were killed and over 700 more were injured in the United Kingdom’s worst ever terrorism incident, which was also the country’s first ever suicide attack, when Islamic terrorists bombed the London underground.
  • In February 2005, the viral video channel YouTube was launched.
  • In 2005 the USB replaced the floppy disk.


  • In April 2006 Facebook Mobile was launched.
  • In September 2006 Facebook launched NewsFeed and opened registration to anyone.
  • In August 2006 Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet after the International Astronomical Union defined the term “planet” for the first time.
  • On October 3, 2006 North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.
  • On December 30, 2006 Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging after being found guilty of crimes against humanity.
  • In July 2006, Twitter was launched along with the idea of micro-blogging.


  • In May 2007 Facebook Platform was launched.
  • In November 2007 Facebook self-service Ads and Pages were launched.
  • In June 2007, the iPhone was released by Apple and named Invention of the Year by Time.
  • Arctic sea ice hit a record low of 4.1 million km² during the summer of 2007.
  • Amazon released the first generation Kindle on November 19, 2007, for $399. It sold out in five and a half hours and remained out of stock for five months until late April 2008.
  • Google released Street View, showing panoramic views of many locations around the world.


  • In April 2008, Facebook introduced Facebook Chat.
  • In July 2008, the Facebook iPhone app was released.
  • By 2008, Google had processed over 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) unique URLs, whilst the number of individual web pages was growing by several billion per day and the number of individual users had reached 1.5 billion (source).
  • On November 4, 2008 Barack Obama was elected the first African American President of the United States.
  • The Summer Olympics 2008 were hosted in Beijing, China
  • The stock market crashed in October 2008 and plunged the U.S. into a recession.
  • The first phone with an Android operating system, the T-Mobile HTC G1 phone, was released in October 2008.
  • In 2008 Apple launches its App Store, giving mobile app developers an easy way to get their software into the hands of consumer.


  • In February 2009, the Facebook “Like” button was released.
  • In 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) discovers water on the moon.
  • In 2009, astronomers in Arizona discovered the exoplanet GJ 1214 b.
  • The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, was completed in Dubai in 2009.  The building has 163 floors and is 2,717 feet tall.


  • In July of 2010 Facebook reached 500 million users!
  • On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 7 and a death toll of more than 200,000.
  • The iPad was released on April 3, 2010.
  • BP’s oil spill caused by an explosion on April 20, 2010 was the second largest environmental disaster in American history
  • Large vocabulary, continuous, speaker-independent speech recognition becomes widespread on smartphones by 2010


  • In September 2011, the Facebook Timeline is introduced.
  • On September 11, 2011, America mourns the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
  • Also in 2011, British Forces withdraw from Afganistan.
  • On March 11th, 2011 Japan is devastated by an earthquake and a tsunami.
  • On May 2, 2011 Osama Bin Laden is found and killed in Pakistan.
  • On January 30, 2011 South Sudan become an independant nation.
  • In 2011, the USB 3.0 becomes widely available with transmission speeds 10 times faster than the USB 2.0
  • Google+ was launched on June 28th, 2011.


  • In April 2012, Facebook aquires Instagram for $1billion.
  • In May 2012, Facebook holds its initial public offering.
  • By October 2012, more than a billion people are active on Facebook.
  • London, England hosts the 2010 Summer Olympics.
  • On October 26, 2012 Microsoft released Windows 8.
  • The first quad-core smartphones and tablets were released in 2012, offering a major boost in processing power. This new generation included the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC Edge, HTC Zeta, HTC Quattro tablet and the Asus Transformer Prime (source).
  • The Mayan calendar reached the end of its cycle on December 21st, 2012 and the world did not end.
  • On November 5, 2012, Obama was re-elected President of the U.S.


  • Facebook announces Internet.org in August of 2013.
  • On February 15, 2013 a meteor explodes over Chelyabinsk, Russia.
  • In June 2013, former NSA employee Edward Snowden leaks critical NSA documents that refer to the mass survaillance of U.S. citizens.  Snowden was granted asylum by Russia in July.
  • In November 2013 the PS4 and Xbox One are released.
  • Google Glass launches their website on July 2, 2013, beta testing their wearable technology (this is a big trend in 2013 with watches as well).
  • Drone technology becomes a reality when Amazon anounces its plan to make deliveries (within a half an hour of ordering) using drones.


With 2014 just getting underway, who knows what is in store for us.  However as we hope this timeline has showed you, the past 10 years have been BIG in every way, politically, economically, socially, environmentally, and technologically.  Considering our rapid rate of growth, can you imagine what the next ten years have in store for us?  Facebook gives us the ability to connect with people on a level that was never possible before, making the world smaller and redefining socialization.  It has also given us our own history books, viral documentation of our lives intertwined with the happenings in our world.  If you haven’t already, go check out Facebook’s birthday present to you here: www.facebook.com/lookback.  It’s pretty cool and pretty scary at the same time.

Image courtesy of Facebook

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