What did Facebook look like when it started?

Popular social media platform set to celebrate 20 years in existence

The News Feed -- Facebook unveiled the News Feed in 2006 as a way to view the activities of your friends. Many users wanted out, although Facebook pacified them with new privacy features to control what is displayed. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Little did the world know at the time what turned out to be born on Feb. 4, 2004.

That was the official birthdate of social media giant Facebook, which is about to celebrate its 20-year anniversary.

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But what did it look like when it was first launched? Certainly nothing like it does now, according to Britannica.

While a student at Harvard in 2003, Mark Zuckerberg developed what was then known as Facemash, an online platform intended to judge the attractiveness of students at the university.

It ended up being shut down after two days because it violated university policy in acquiring resources for the service, but a seed was planted given 450 people quickly went on the site.

In January 2004, Zuckerberg registered the URL http://www.thefacebook.com, and it was launched on Feb. 4, 2004, allowing Harvard students to post photographs of themselves and personal information about their lives.

At the time, the most popular social media network was Myspace.

The popularity of Facebook ended up spreading like a wildfire. Students at other schools such as Yale and Stanford were invited to join, and by June of 2004, students from 34 schools had signed up.

By the end of 2004, TheFacebook reached 1 million active users. At that time though, there were features people know about the site now that weren’t developed. For example, the idea of tagging people in photos wasn’t introduced until 2005.

Visually, Facebook (or TheFacebook when it was launched) appeared to have more of a database look where as many personal details as possible were packed into the space, according to Engadget.

But quickly, Facebook kept evolving with redesigns and features, particularly when it introduced newsfeeds that allowed users to view the status of other users without being forced to click on their profile page.

Nearly 20 years later, the rest as they say, is social media history.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.