8 years of Facebook highlights – It all began in a Harvard dorm room in 2004. Mark Zuckerberg and fellow students Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin start what then was known as Thefacebook. The social-networking site spreads to other Ivy League universities the next month.
June 2004 – Zuckerberg and his partners move Facebook's base of operations to Palo Alto, California, where they meet former Napster co-founder Sean Parker. The savvy, hard-partying Parker becomes an early partner (and later president) of Facebook and helps attract investors to the fledgling network.
September 2005 – The company drops the "the" from its name after Parker pays $200,000 for Internet address Facebook.com. Facebook has grown to include students from more than 1,000 colleges and universities and is opening to high schools.
September 2006 – Facebook opens to anyone older than 13 with a valid e-mail address. That same month, the site introduces its News Feed, which highlights updates, photos, etc., from friends within your network. Users revolt, starting petitions to change Facebook back, although -- as with most Facebook changes -- they eventually grow to embrace the feature.
October 2007 – Microsoft purchases a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, valuing the company at about $15 billion. The deal comes after other Internet giants, including Google and Yahoo, failed to buy all or part of Facebook. By now, more than half the site's users live outside the United States.
August 2008 – Facebook hits 100 million users. The same year, it surpasses MySpace to become the world's most popular social network.
September 2009 – One month after acquiring rival network FriendFeed, Zuckerberg announces Facebook has begun turning a profit for the first time.
April 2010 – Facebook introduces the Like button, which is quickly adopted by the thousands of news and retail sites that integrate with the social network. Some users complain there should be a "Dislike" button, too. Despite growing user concerns over privacy, Facebook hits half a billion users three months later.
October 2010 – "The Social Network," David Fincher's movie about the founding of Facebook, hits theaters, making Mark Zuckerberg a household name. The film is a critical and commercial hit, earning $225 million worldwide and winning three Oscars. Zuckerberg calls the movie a largely inaccurate dramatization but says it gets his casual wardrobe right.
December 2011 – Facebook rolls out Timeline, a redesign to the site's user profile pages, amid ever-present complaints about the changes. But Zuckerberg's not worried -- by this time the site has 800 million active users, half of whom log in every day.
May 2012 – Facebook buys the photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion.
May 2012 – Facebook prepares to become a publicly traded company, raising billions of dollars from investors. The company says it expects to price its shares at $34 to $38 each, potentially valuing Facebook at more than $100 billion. Based on his stake, Zuckerberg himself will likely be worth more than $15 billion.