Launch and development

Facebook was launched in early 2004, and it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and others while they were students at Harvard University. Initially, the site was only designed to support college networks and was intended to be a way to keep in touch with university peers after graduation. When it was initially launched, Facebook was restricted to Harvard students and users were required to have a Harvard email address to join the site. In 2005, the network was extended to include other colleges and high schools, but the users were still required to have email addresses connected to institutions to join. This requirement kept the site relatively closed and created the perception that the site offered a private community.

The network was later extended to include corporate networks and, after 2006, everyone above the age of 13 could sign up to Facebook. The access of new users to closed networks (like corporate or high school networks) was still rather limited, and users were unable to make their full profiles public to all. Nonetheless, the site quickly gained popularity. In 2008, it became the most visited site in the United States, surpassing MySpace, which was until then the most popular social networking site. In 2009, Facebook was ranked as t...

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