The History of Facebook: Part 2

In our previous post, The History of Facebook: Part 1, we continued our series on Facebook with the first part of a three part series on the history of the company.

In this post, we continue on with Part 2 – a look at Facebook from 2008 til 2010.

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The History of Facebook: Part 2

  • January 2008 — Facebook begins offering multiple languages as it expands internationally. The site enlists members to install the Translation application, enabling them to translate words on Facebook from English to their native languages. Using a crowdsourcing technique (see for more information), Facebook invites other translators to vote on the quality of a particular translation by giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down.
  • February 2008 — Facebook encroaches more onto MySpace’s turf by launching its new music section for bands, in partnership with iTunes. Just like MySpace, the new section lets bands offer streamed music, photos and music videos to fans as well as selling tickets and merchandise through a deal with the Music Today service.
  • April 2008 — Facebook begins partnering with other social sites to pull external data into profile pages, displaying a user’s activity from places such as photo-sharing site Flickr and review site Yelp.
  • April 2008 — Facebook Chat released. Members can instant-message each other while on the site.

Facebook ties MySpace in number of users worldwide at 115 million.

  • May, 2008 — Facebook Connect is announced and is generally available at year end. Members can use their Facebook identities on sites across the Web, including profile photos, photos, friends, groups, events, and other information. This comes after the site banned famous blogger Robert Scoble[1] when he imported his Facebook contact list to online address book site Plaxo. Connect eventually grows into the Open Graph initiative.
  • September 2008 — Facebook begins migrating all users to a new version of the site.
  • December 2008 — The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory rules that Facebook is a valid way to serve court notices to defendants.[2] New Zealand quickly follows suit.

Facebook is at 70 million US members, having more than tripled in size in a year.

  • June 2009 — Facebook introduces a Usernames feature, which enables members to create simpler URLs for their profiles such as Some people pick funny or impenetrable usernames, such as:
  • (sadly, no longer even the center of Facebook)
  • (our personal favorite)[3]

Facebook officially edges ahead of MySpace at 70.278 million US members.


Claims 250 million total active users.

  • August 2009 — Facebook acquires FriendFeed,[4] a site that aggregates members’ posts from almost 60 social media services into a single news feed. At the same time, Facebook debuts real-time search, not only enabling members to search all of Facebook, but also search their own stream of friends, including photos, status updates and such over the last 30 days. Industry pundits view these moves as a direct threat to Twitter, the king of real-time social media.
  • August 2009 — Facebook debuts HuffPost Social News, a collaboration with the Huffington Post Website which enables users to create their own personalized social networking-like news page on the Huffington Post itself.
  • Late 2009 — After opening some member information up to search engines in 2007, Facebook changes privacy settings again so Facebook public profiles can be indexed by search engines. In July 2010, security consultant Ron Bowes copies the names and profile URLs of 171 million Facebook accounts from publicly-available information and uploads the data as a 2.8GB file, allowing anyone to download it.
  • April 2010 — Facebook replaces the Share on Facebook feature with a Like button, and renames its Fan pages, Like pages or just simply Facebook Pages. It also introduces a Recommend button. The buttons appear initially on sites such as, IMDb,,,, and
  • April 2010 — Facebook introduces the Activity Feed plug-in. Website owners can embed a stream on their pages that displays personalized content from Facebook members when they like or share content on the site. If a member is logged into Facebook when they visit the third party site, the plug-in highlights content from their friends. If they’re not logged in to Facebook, the activity feed shows recommendations from the third party site, and gives the user the option to log in to Facebook.
  • April 2010 — Facebook launches their Graph API.[5] This enables other sites to personalize a Facebook member’s experience, as long as the member is logged in to Facebook. See the Pandora example in our Creating Social Media Connection post for more about how this works.
  • June 2010 — Facebook launches Live Stream Box, which enables any Website to embed a live, interactive box on their pages for members to connect, share, and post updates in real-time as they witness an event online. This puts Facebook in the center of online events, games, or any Website where masses of people view — and want to comment on — the same Webpage.

Next up: The History of Facebook: Part 3

The History of Facebook: Part 2 is the 118th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 321. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

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[1] CNet’s article The Scoble scuffle: Facebook, Plaxo at odds over data

[2] The Age’s article Kiwi judge follows Australian Facebook

[3] Read more interesting usernames at:

[4] FriendFeed:

[5] Facebook on the Graph API: