Tech

Facebook's biggest changes

Updated 1:33 PM ET, Wed July 8, 2015
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It has been more than 10 years of change for Facebook, the social network founded February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, right, Dustin Moskovitz and three other classmates in a Harvard dorm room. From its awkward beginnings to an international phenomenon with 1.4 billion users, here's a look at the many faces of Facebook. Justine Hunt/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
It was first known as "Thefacebook" when it launched at Harvard University as a way for students to connect. The social-networking site spread to Columbia, Stanford and Yale universities the following month, and the Facebook Wall made its debut in September. By December, Thefacebook had nearly 1 million users. From Facebook
The site grew beyond the Ivy League to include more than 800 colleges and universities by May 2005, and its official name changed from Thefacebook to just Facebook that August. Facebook began allowing high school students to join in September. From Facebook
By 2006, anyone 13 and up was allowed to join Facebook. That same year Facebook introduced the News Feed, which highlighted new updates and photos within your social networks. As they would after almost every major change, Facebook users revolted, starting a petition to change Facebook back. One petitioner said, "I don't need to know everything about EVERYONE." From Facebook
Facebook updated its site design in April 2007, moving friends, networks and the inbox to the top of each page and photos, notes, groups and events to a bar on the left. Facebook Platform launched in May, which allowed for developers to create third-party apps. (Another backlash erupted when those apps started requesting personal information.) Later that year, Facebook introduced ads, which convinced some users the site was going the way of MySpace. From Facebook
Facebook profile pages were redesigned in 2008 to add five main tabs: Feed, Wall, Info, Photos and Boxes. The new design was, as usual, met with negative comments from users resistant to change. Facebook also debuted its Chat feature that year, allowing real-time instant messaging. From Facebook
The "Like" button was introduced on Facebook in 2009, letting users show appreciation for clever status updates or pictures of their friends' cats getting into shenanigans. Cynical users demanded a "Dislike" button. Facebook also launched Pages to let fans follow celebrities, sports teams or causes. From Facebook
Facebook introduced instant personalization, which gave partner websites information about users so they could personalize your experience. Advocacy groups like the ACLU reacted negatively to the new feature, saying users should have to opt in instead of getting the setting by default. Under pressure, Zuckerberg tweaked Facebook's settings to give users greater control over privacy. From Facebook
Taking a cue from apps like Foursquare (and rival Gowalla, which it eventually bought in 2011), Facebook launched Places, which allowed mobile users to check in at their locations. The most "checked-in" spot? Disneyland. From Facebook
By February 2011, Facebook had become the Web's largest host of photographs. Over its decade, users have uploaded more than 250 billion photos to the site. And by the end of the year, it began scrapping users' Walls in favor of another layout change. Fast forward to 2012 ... From Facebook
Mobile users who want to message friends can do so using the Messenger app, introduced in 2011. From Facebook
In the spring of 2012, Facebook forced all users to convert to its Timeline profile layout, which arranged updates in chronological order, searchable by year. From Facebook
By late 2013, Facebook reported that 945 million of its 1.2 billion users were visiting via a smartphone or tablet. After years as a Web-first product, Facebook began putting a new emphasis on mobile tools, growth and revenue. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
Following a trend made popular by Twitter, Facebook allowed select Pages for people, sports, media and government to become verified in 2013. The badges show a page's authentic affiliation. From Facebook
Hashtags were introduced to Facebook in 2013. The hashtag was created on Twitter in 2007 as a way of pulling together different posts about the same topic. Mashable
Facebook began competing with YouTube by allowing users to upload videos directly to the social network. In 2015, they also began allowing users to easily embed Facebook videos in other platforms. From Facebook
Facebook published this map in 2013 that shows its global reach. The lighter a country or region, the higher its concentration of Facebook users (note the black hole of China). But some believe the social network has reached a saturation point and is poised for a decline, especially among fickle younger users. From Facebook