) is a social networking service
and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.
As of January 2011[update]
, Facebook has more than 600 million active users.
Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and
exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update
their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups,
organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics.
The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book
given to students at the start of the academic year by university
administrations in the USA to help students get to know each other
better. Facebook allows anyone who declares themselves to be at least 13
years old to become a registered user of the website.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg
with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin
, Dustin Moskovitz
and Chris Hughes
The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard
students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston
area, the Ivy League
, and Stanford University
It gradually added support for students at various other universities
before opening to high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13
A January 2009 Compete.com
study ranked Facebook as the most used social networking service
by worldwide monthly active users, followed by MySpace
. Entertainment Weekly
put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "How on earth
did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our
friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?"
Quantcast estimates Facebook has 135.1 million monthly unique U.S. visitors in October 2010.
According to Social Media Today
, in April 2010 an estimated 41.6% of the U.S. population had a Facebook account.
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