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Happy birthday Facebook!

Happy birthday Facebook!
Social networking website Facebook turns nine-year-old today. Facebook was started on February 4, 2004 in a dorm of Harvard University by Mark Zuckerburg with the help of his four friends Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes. The world's biggest social media site called in its initial days, and was later renamed to just Facebook.

Facebook, which began as Zuckerberg's hobby projects, was initially a college network. Facebook's expansion to other colleges and universities started in March 2004. Within months, the social network became a huge success. In October 2007, software giant Microsoft bought a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook for $240 million. Search gaint Google too is said to have offered partnership deal to Facebook. The deal was, however, rejected by Facebook. The latter went public in May 2012 and was valued at over $100 billion after IPO.

Recently, Facebook co-founder and CEO Zuckerburg announced a new feature called Graph Search, a tool that utilises social data to help compile results for users. The company also rolled out features like Facebook Cards and voice calling on iPhone in North America to attract users. Users are steadily becoming more active on the mobile edition of the website than the desktop version.

Despite tremendous growth, Facebook has been mired in controversies over privacy concerns, underage members, hacking attacks etc. Zuckerburg has been dragged into lawsuits over stealing the idea for Facebook from his seniors at Harvard - Cameron Winklewoss, Tyler Winklewoss and Divya Narendra. Co-founder Eduardo Saverin also filed a lawsuit against Zuckerburg for pushing him out of the company. Both the cases were settled out of court.

In terms of user count, US, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico are the countries with maximum members on Facebook. It enjoys a huge lead over rival social networks like Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. It topped 1 billion users on September 14 2012 at 12.45 pm, while it crossed the 500 million-member mark in July 2010. Since February 2009, Facebook has witnessed 1.13 trillion users' likes, 219 billion photos being uploaded and 17 billion location-tagged pictures.

A 2011 movie called The Social Network chronicled the events that led to the inception of Facebook as well as the involvement of tech titans like Sean Parker (co-founder of Napster) and Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal) with Facebook. The movie was nominated for eight Oscars and won three.

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