Facebook now 20 years old


Maybe you still remember the day you created your profile on Facebook. Or who was your first Facebook friend. Believe it or not, this social media giant is 20 years old this month.

“Facebook, when it was launched, was revolutionary,” recalls Jasmine Enberg, analyst at the market research company Insider Intelligence.

“I’ll never forget the day I ran to my high school’s Mac lab and logged into Facebook. You felt you were part of this small, exclusive community where your parents, grandparents and teachers weren’t – but also part of something much bigger.”

It will be exactly 20 years ago on Sunday that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on February 4, 2004 with three friends. However, this platform was known at the time as thefacebook.com and was originally limited to students at Harvard University.

The platform would later be made available to students at other American universities before Jan Alleman finally received access to the platform in 2006.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact of Facebook on shaping everything from pop culture to politics to how we behave online,” explains Enberg two decades later.

After all, over the years Facebook has become a platform that allows you to communicate with almost anyone, in almost any place.

The platform, which was initially created to connect people online, has since become an online advertising giant like Google.

Enberg says that the platform is “part of the digital landscape”, especially for so-called millennials who were born in the 1980s or 1990s.

“It remains irresistible to advertisers, thanks to its reach and performance.”

Facebook’s business model is built on using people’s personal data to offer more engaging content and targeted advertising; however, it has also led to numerous complaints and fines over the years.

In 2021, Facebook came under fire when whistleblowers accused it of its managers putting profit before the safety and well-being of users.

Despite everything, Facebook continued to grow.

By last year, more than three billion people used the social media platform monthly. This is 3% more users compared to the previous year – a so-called bad year for Facebook – when the platform’s profit reached $23 billion.

And while Facebook is old news to some these days, the platform’s fans don’t seem to be slowing down at all.

These days, the company boasts a “family” of applications that includes Instagram and WhatsApp.

“We may be less stuck, but we haven’t walked away, because there really isn’t an alternative (to Facebook),” says Carolina Milanesi, analyst from Creative Strategies, about the aging social network’s staying power.

Facebook’s users are currently between 18 and 34 years old, according to online insight company DataReportal.

But how many users interact with the social network remains difficult to determine.

“I use Facebook very little, but what I post on Instagram also automatically appears on Facebook,” explains Milanesi.

“So, I’m definitely counted as ‘active’… The numbers may not reflect reality.”