Facebook is a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. As of July 2010[update] Facebook has more than 500 million active users, which is about one person for every fourteen in the world.[N 1] 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 US with the intention of helping students to 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 and over. Facebook has 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 North Korea. It has also been banned at many places of work to discourage employees from wasting time using the service. Facebook’s privacy has also been an issue, and the safety of their users has been compromised several times. Facebook settled a lawsuit regarding claims over source code and intellectual property. A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social network 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.
source : wikipedia