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 automatic notifications 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 several countries 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 claims over 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)