Facebook, originally located at thefacebook.com, is a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. As of July 2010 Facebook has more than 500 million active users, Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automaticnotifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics. .
Facebook was then opened on September 26, 2006, to everyone of ages 13 and older with a valid email address.
Facebook has been met with some controversy. It has been blocked intermittently in severalcountries including Pakistan, Syria, the People's Republic of China, Vietnam, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Bangladesh. It has also been banned at many workplaces to prevent the wasting of employees' time. The privacy of Facebook users has also been an issue, and the safety of user accounts has been compromised several times. Facebook has settled a lawsuit regarding claimsover source code and intellectual property.
Users can create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information, and other personal information. Users can communicate with friends and other users through private or public messages and a chat feature. They can also create and join interest groups and "like pages" (formerly called "fan pages", until April 19,2010), some of which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising.
To allay concerns about privacy, Facebook enables users to choose their own privacy settings and choose who can see specific parts of their profile. The website is free to users, and generates revenue from advertising, such as banner ads. Facebook requires a user’s name and profile picture (if applicable)to be accessible by everyone. Users can control who sees other information they have shared, as well as who can find them in searches, through their privacy settings.
The media often compares Facebook to MySpace, but one significant difference between the two websites is the level of customization. Another difference is Facebook’s requirement that users utilize their true identity, ademand that MySpace does not make. MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), while Facebook only allows plain text. Facebook has a number of features with which users may interact. They include the Wall, a space on every user's profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see; Pokes, which allows users to send avirtual "poke" to each other (a notification then tells a user that they have been poked); Photos, where users can upload albums and photos; and Status, which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and actions. Depending on privacy settings, anyone who can see a user's profile can also view that user's Wall. In July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachmentsto the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously limited to textual content only.
Over time, Facebook has added features to its website. On September 6, 2006, a News Feed was announced, which appears on every user's homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays of the user's friends. This has enabled spammers and other users to manipulate thesefeatures by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause. Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, while others were concerned it made it too easy for other people to track down individual activities (such as changes in relationship status,...