Facebook is a social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.
Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website's name stems from the colloquial name of a book given to incoming students at Zuckerberg's high school alma mater, Phillips Exeter Academy. The book shows the faces and names of the school's students and faculty.
The advent of Facebook came about as a spin-off of a Harvard University version of Hot or Not called Facemash. Mark Zuckerberg, while attending Harvard as a sophomore, concocted Facemash on October 28, 2003. That night, Zuckerberg was blogging about a girl who had dumped him and trying to think of something to do to get her off his mind:
████████ is a bitch. I need to think of something to make to take my mind off her. I need to think of something to occupy my mind. Easy enough, now I just need an idea.
I'm a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it's not even 10 p.m. and it's a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland [dorm] facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.
Yea, it's on. I'm not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can't really ever be sure with farm animals . . .), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.
Let the hacking begin.
According to The Harvard Crimson, Facemash "used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the 'hotter' person." To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into the protected areas of Harvard's computer network and copied the house's private dormitory ID images. "Perhaps Harvard will squelch it for legal reasons without realizing its value as a venture that could possibly be expanded to other schools (maybe even ones with good-looking people ... )," Zuckerberg wrote in his personal blog. "But one thing is certain, and it’s that I’m a jerk for making this site. Oh well. Someone had to do it eventually ... " The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights and violating individual privacy and faced expulsion, but ultimately the charges were dropped.