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Facebook- The Story of a Tech Giant Part 2

This brilliant idea that was started in a Harvard dormitory is now boasting a whopping 300 million users in just 4 years, but this is just the beginning. Little did we know that this Giant was going to take the world by storm. A few months after, in December 2009, Facebook hits another major milestone- probably its greatest to that time. Facebook hits a whooping 350 million registered users with 132 million unique monthly users. With these statistics, it becomes the most popular social platform in the world. But like we initially said, this was just the beginning.

In July of 2010, Facebook hit 500 million registered users which greatly saw the valuation of the Company get bolstered phenomenally. With a valuation of an unprecedented $41bn, Facebook became the 3rd largest web company in the US, closely behind Google and Amazon. In June of 2011, Facebook hit 1 trillion page views and quickly became the 2nd most visited website in the United States. All this was achieved in the arguably infancy stages of the company showing just how much a brilliant idea can take off.

In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram but what happens next could probably make this the most controversial year for Facebook. This was majorly because of the fact that the company was finally going public. The company, valued at $104bn with a price tag of $38 a share, managed to raise a massive $161m, but this was the beginning of trouble. Improper behavior from underwriters and technical issues plus glitches and botched orders made investors lose close to $40bn in one of Facebook’s most devastating losses. Wallstreet Journal called the running of this IPO a ‘pump and dump scheme‘. Nonetheless, Facebook hit a milestone a few months later by registering over 1 billion users. In addition to all that, despite the shaky IPO, Facebook joined the Fortune 500 companies in 2013, sitting squarely at number 462. This meant that Facebook was indeed shaking the foundations of businesses in the world over.

In February 2014, Facebook turned a decade and with that, they acquired the instant messaging app; Whatsapp; for a whopping $19bn. Now that is quite the investment. In the following month, Facebook also acquired Oculus VR. In that same month, Facebook detached Messenger from the main app for people to separately download it. This became a phenomenal decision as Facebook has more than 1.7bn Messenger users as of 2019. By September of the same year, Facebook’s market capitalization had grown to reach $200 billion by September showing that the company was steadily growing financially.

Because of the ease of joining Facebook, fake news became prevalent especially in the year 2015. There was literally false information all over Facebook about all kinds of subject matters. Because of this, in January 2015, Facebook announced the addition of a new feature that would allow users to flag an article as a ‘false’. They also inculcated this safety feature to their algorithm. Though not entirely effective, it helped slow down on the prevalence of false stories and fake news on Facebook.

Between 2015 and 2018, Facebook grappled with the fake news issue having several iterations to the algorithm to help combat this. Despite this, Facebook’s growth was exponential. As the algorithm greatly reduced the presence of Businesses on organic search and focused more on friends and family in the news feed, Businesses were greatly hit.

Though marred with controversy, we cannot ignore what Zuckerberg has done and how he has impacted the world. Privacy issues are still a thorn in the flesh of Facebook users and we just hope that in the near future, we will all be able to use this revolutionary technology without a shred of worry.


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