Facebook turns 15: A look at some of its biggest milestones

On Monday, exactly fifteen years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and some of his college friends launched a website aimed at connecting their Harvard classmates online.

Fast forward to today, that website, now called  Facebook, is now generating more than $55 billion in revenue, connects 2.2 billion monthly users and employs more than 30,000 people worldwide.

Not bad for the now 34-year-old, who is ranked as the fifth richest person in the world with a net worth of $65.5 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

But the road to the top hasn’t always been easy for Facebook. There have been a number of highs and lows along the way.

Here’s a look back at some of Facebook's biggest milestones.

Entrepeneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 2, 2016. REU

The Winklevoss twins

Drama started early for Facebook. Less than a week after its launch, a few of Zuckerberg’s classmates, including the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, accused Zuckerberg of stealing the idea from them after initially agreeing to build a Harvard-focused social site called HarvardConnection.com with them. The accusations were later dismissed by Harvard's president. But in June 2008, Zuckerberg reached a financial settlement with the twins.

Accel Partners' $13 million investment

More than a year after its launch, Zuckerberg was featured in the New York Times' “Small Business” section after Accel Partners announced plans to invest $13 million in the startup. Accel said it was impressed with Zuckerberg’s ability to attract 2.8 million registered users on more than 800 campuses across the country since launching in February 2004.

The Yahoo acquisition fallout

During the summer of 2006, Zuckerberg reportedly agreed to a $1 billion acquisition from Yahoo. But disappointing quarterly earnings from Yahoo that year, which led to a drop in stock price, resulted in a reduced offer that was later rejected by Zuckerberg.

Facebook reaches 100 million users

In August 2008, more than four years after it launched, Facebook announced it reached 100 million registered users.

Facebook buys Instagram

In April 2012, Facebook acquired the popular photo-sharing service for $1 billion in cash and stock.

Facebook goes public

In May 2012, Facebook went public, raising more than $16 billion in an IPO that valued the corporation at $104 billion. At the time, it was the largest valuation for a newly listed company in U.S. history.

Facebook reaches 1 billion users

A few months after going public, Facebook announced it had reached 1 billion users in September 2012.

2016 presidential election

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election numerous allegations surfaced that “fake news” articles thrived on Facebook, benefiting Trump’s campaign. The fake content was spread throughout Facebook through ad impressions in an attempt to influence voters.

Cambridge Analytica –Whistleblower Christopher Wylie

In March 2018, both the Guardian and the New York Times revealed that personal information from over 87 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that had worked for Trump’s presidential campaign. According to whistleblower Christopher Wylie, the data was collected using an app created by Global Science Research.

 Zuckerberg testifies before Congress

In April 2018, Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding the data breach and how the company handles data.

Major data breach

In September 2018, Facebook disclosed that a major data breach had compromised around 50 million users.

Cambridge Analytica scandal lawsuit

In December 2018, Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine announced he had filed a lawsuit against Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"Facebook put users at risk of manipulation by allowing companies like Cambridge Analytica and other third-party applications to collect personal data without users' permission. Today's lawsuit is about making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users' privacy,” Racine said in a statement.


$100 billion loss

On July 26, 2018, Facebook became the first company to lose over $100 billion in market capitalization in one day. It fell from nearly $630 billion to $510 billion, a 19 percent loss after a disappointing sales report.

Record profits 

Despite a year full of big scandals, Facebook took in a record $22 billion in profit for 2018 with a record net income of $6.88 billion during the last quarter of 2018. During a call with investors, Zuckerberg said he is starting 2019 with a “clear plan for what we need to do now.”