Facebook was launched from a Harvard dormitory room by Mark Zuckerberg, then 19 years old, and three classmates on this date in 2004. By summer they had an investor, Peter Thiel, the co-founder of Paypal, and an office in Palo Alto, California. Eight years later the company prepared an Initial Public Offering, was valued at $100 billion, and was on its way to having a billion users worldwide. (Zuckerberg and his colleagues had previously turned down a few buy-out offers by major corporations.”Having media corporations owned by conglomerates is just not an attractive idea to me,” he said.) Facebook has been a major force of communication in political uprisings worldwide and was a key tool in Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008. The technology has also been an object of fear and loathing among people who criticize it as undermining to privacy and as a source of obsession and fetishization of the self. In December 2010, Zuckerberg joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in signing the “Giving Pledge,” a promise to donate at least half of their wealth to charity over the course of their lives.
“The question isn’t, ‘What do we want to know about people?’ It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?” —Mark Zuckerberg