Facebook, which reported fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, has more than 1 billion people logging in each month. It’s a rapid growth for a service that began in a Harvard dorm room less than nine years ago.
Here are some key developments over the years:
February 2004: Mark Zuckerberg starts Facebook as a sophomore at Harvard University.
March 2004: Facebook begins expansion to other colleges and universities.
June 2004: Facebook moves headquarters to Palo Alto, Calif.
September 2004: Facebook introduces the Wall, which allows people to write personal musings and other tidbits on profile pages. Lawsuit filed against Facebook claiming that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from a company co-founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and a third person at Harvard.
September 2005: Facebook expands to include high schools.
May 2006: Facebook introduces work networks, allowing people with a corporate email address to join.
September 2006: Facebook begins letting anyone over 13 join. It also introduces News Feed, which collects friends’ Wall posts in one place. Although that led to complaints about privacy, News Feed becomes one of Facebook’s most popular features.
May 2007: Facebook launches Platform, a system for letting outside programmers develop tools for sharing photos, taking quizzes and playing games. The system creates a Facebook economy and allows companies such as game maker Zynga Inc. to thrive.
October 2007: Facebook agrees to sell a 1.6 percent stake to Microsoft for $240 million and forges advertising partnership.
November 2007: Facebook unveils its Beacon program, a feature that broadcasts people’s activities on dozens of outside sites. Yet another privacy backlash leads Facebook to give people more control over Beacon, before Facebook ultimately scraps it as part of a legal settlement.
March 2008: Facebook hires Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer, snatching the savvy, high-profile executive from Google Inc.
April 2008: Facebook Chat introduced.
February 2009: Facebook introduces “Like,” allowing people to endorse other people’s posts.