Facebook Blows Out 10 Candles Today: Here Are 10 Remarkable Changes

By: Sofie De Beule

February 4, 2014

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Facebook News Feed
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Mark Zuckerberg
paper app
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share button

Hip hip hooray, Facebook turns ten today! The social network, once known only by American Ivy League students as “The Facebook” was launched by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004 from Harvard University. Time’s person of the year in 2010 and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (turning 30 himself in May), once admitted owning a drawer full of grey T-shirts because wearing the same thing everyday gave him “one less thing to think about”.

Over the years, Facebook lost its ephemeral status. Facebook’s ultimate goal is to become a utility: something people “can’t live without” like electricity or water. The continual growth of their user base really demonstrates it’s no longer a fad, instead, it’s grown into much more than just a “thing to pass time on the web”.

Some say there are three things certain in life: death, taxes, and Facebook redesigns. The social network, notorious for its ever-changing updates to the platform, provided us with an astounding amount of changes throughout those 10 remarkable years. And, there are presumably still many to come. How exactly did Facebook change over the years?

Let’s take a look at the 10 most remarkable changes with some nostalgic reminders:

1. Name Change to ‘Facebook’

In January 2004, Zuckerberg started writing the code for a new website called ‘thefacebook’. The company moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California around June 2004, and Facebook dropped ‘The’ from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com in 2005 for 200,000 dollars. And so the famous “Facebook” social network was born!

By the way, do you recognize Al Pacino’s face on the old banner? Did you also know his head was part of the first ever Facebook logo?

2. Introduction of The ‘Like’ Button

In 2010, Facebook introduced the famous Like button. Both Like and Share buttons are viewed over 22 billion times daily, embedded across 7.5 million websites, and they’re considered important drivers of Facebook referral traffic. In the beginning of November 2013, Facebook introduced a new design for both Like and Share to help disperse more great content across the web.

The old Like buttons were automatically upgraded to the new design, which permanently got rid of the notorious ‘thumb’. Like allows people to post links to Facebook with one click, and Share helps them to add a personalized message and customize their target audience before posting.

3. Launch of The Infamous Timeline

The new Timeline was introduced as the ‘scrapbook of your life’. It scrolls all the way back to your birth and displays the photos you’ve posted, all your status updates, the apps you’ve used, and the places you’ve visited on a world map. Initially, the Timeline was in beta and started as an opt-in feature. However, everyone has fully adapted to the lay-out as it’s become the default profile page.

4. Facebook’s Paper App Introduces Slicker News Feeds

Just one day ago, a news reader called Paper hit the App Store. The latest mobile Facebook endeavor introduces a new brilliant lay-out to consume news. With Paper, you’re given the opportunity to select the topics you want to know all about. Once you’ve made that selection, you get directed to the Facebook News Feed to stroll through various status updates from friends and pages by swiping right and left. Paper also provides you with the ability to tilt your phone and view high definition photos.

5. Getting Rid of The Dated Logo

Although ditching the old logo is a minor change to the social platform, it definitely captured public attention with billions of users. The old icons have been a mainstay on the site for years, however, simplifying the new Facebook logo with the removal of the blue line makes it more up-to-date. The logo change didn’t stand alone, and Facebook redefined and refocused its look to enhance everyone’s social networking experience.

6. Top Stories

In order for no one to miss out on the important stuff, Facebook introduced changes to the News feed in 2011 with an emphasis on “top stories” in stead of recent posts. The feature was ideal for users who don’t regularly visit the site to keep them instantly updated. Frequent visitors see an option to expand recent posts at the top of the page, and top stories are marked with a little blue triangle in the top-left corner of each post.

7. Evolving Beyond “Likes”: Facebook Actions

On May 2, 2012, Facebook rolled out a new way for people to interact with your timeline app directly from Facebook: action links or Facebook actions. They provide people with other ways of interacting within your app when your Open Graph stories appear in your timeline or news feed, consequently evolving beyond ‘likes’.

When someone checks in on Foursquare, for example, friends can already comment or like on the resulting post through a link that appears as part of the story.

8. Privacy Hassle Introduces Stricter Privacy Policies (or Not?)

Numerous stories reached the news about people losing their job over an embarrassing Facebook picture of a co-worker partying ‘hard’ on a week day and calling in sick the next morning.

It’s all about privacy settings (and carefully deciding on the people you ‘friend’ as well)! However, a lot of people simply don’t bother to change the service’s default privacy settings, and millions of users still aren’t aware of the privacy controls. The Facebook interface doesn’t exactly make it easy to adjust your privacy settings.

9. First The Follow Button And Then The ‘Unfollow’ Button

Only two months ago in December 2013, Facebook starting going the way of Twitter and Instagram. Users are now able to unfollow friends whose comments and updates don’t appeal that much to them. If you’re not a fan of your friend Suzy’s new baby pictures, clicking on the button will do the trick. “Unfollow” replaced the existing “hide all” button, which is available in the drop-down menu on posts in News Feeds.

10. “Lightweight” Information Got Dumped in The Ticker

Remember the frustration of getting updates in your News Feed about a friend planting crops in FarmVille? That kind of “lightweight” information lives in the Ticker, a real-time list of the things your friends are posting at the right side of your screen.

In October 2013, the feature was supposedly executed entirely, and plenty of users completely swore off Facebook’s Ticker. Initially, the idea was to give a slice of real-time interaction. Luckily, you’re now able to join the conversation right away whenever a friend comments or asks a question.