Facebook Overview Updated November 9, 2021

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December 2010 - November 2021

Facebook is the most popular social media service in the world with 2.32 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2018. It also averages 1.52 billion daily active users as of December 2018.

Facebook was launched in February of 2004 (as The Facebook) for college students and then rapidly grew as it opened the service to more than those with a .edu email address. It was the subject of the 2010 movie called “The Social Network“.

In 2012, the social media giant offered its IPO and Facebook earned the title of the fastest company to grow to $250 billion market capitalization in the S&P 500.

In recent years, the company has been at the center of attention related to its role in the Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Since then, it’s been a continual stream of negative news for the company. They recently had all of their enterprise certificates for iOS revoked after it was discovered they had repackaged Onavo VPN as a ‘Research’ app and were paying teens $20/month to sneakily sideload it.

In early 2019, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a “privacy shift” for the company. He outlined a detailed vision for the future of the social media platform, specifically its messaging services. Notably, in contrast to how the company operates today, he says the future of the platform will be privacy-focused with features like end-to-end encryption, interoperability between its various apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, reducing how long it holds data, secure storage of personal data, and more.

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Facebook Stories Today

Last year, Facebook announced its plans to acquire the popular GIF service Giphy in a deal valued at around $400 million. While Facebook (now Meta) had said its goal with the Giphy acquisition was to integrate the service deeply with Instagram, regulators have now ordered Facebook to sell Giphy due to antitrust concerns…

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Facebook Stories November 22

Facebook, now Meta, has been teasing end-to-end encrypted chat to Messenger and Instagram for quite some time. Now, the company says it won’t happen until “sometime in 2023.” In an opinion article in the Telegraph, the global head of safety at Meta, Antigone Davis, says the company will “protect privacy and prevent harm.”

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Facebook Stories November 3

In the latest move to get around Apple’s 30% App Store commission, Facebook is launching custom web links for creators to take payments with “Facebook Pay.” As it stands today, it seems the maneuver is allowed via an App Store rules gray area and Facebook is even giving bonuses to creators who use the new option for the holiday quarter.

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Facebook Stories November 1

A new report estimates that Apple’s app privacy policy – aka App Tracking Transparency – will cost social media companies almost $10B in the second half of this year.

It says that’s because their unique selling point (USP) was the ability to target particular demographics and interest groups, and that now they can no longer offer that, advertisers are taking their business elsewhere …

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Facebook Stories October 30

After Facebook announced this week that the brand that will gather Facebook itself, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and more will be called Meta, the company is now changing the footer of its apps to reflect that.

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Facebook Stories October 28

Facebook today announced that it is changing the company’s name to Meta, which reflects on what the company calls “Metaverse” — a strategy for a mixed reality platform that will combine all of the company’s apps in one place. Meanwhile, an image of Meta’s new smartwatch has leaked on the web — and it reveals a device with a built-in camera.

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During its Connect 2021 conference keynote today, Facebook spent a lot of time diving into the “metaverse” – its in the works mixed-reality platform. And along with that, as expected, it announced a major rebrand to “Meta” with the goal of the new name to “encompass everything” it does.

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Facebook Stories October 25

Facebook on Monday reported fiscal results for its third quarter of 2021 with $29.01 billion in revenue coming from advertisements. However, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains upset about Apple’s privacy changes, as he said during an investor call that Apple has been hurting not only Facebook, but “millions of small businesses.”

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The Facebook Papers – a huge set of internal company documents provided to news organizations by whistleblower Frances Haugen – look set to reveal a lot of compromising information about the company.

Initial reports published today include confirmation that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was fully aware of the way in which the social media platform was contributing to the polarization that played a significant role in leading to the US insurrection.

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Facebook Stories October 21

Facebook Messenger for iOS gets new AR experiences for video calls

Facebook announces today that Group Effects, which bring new AR experiences, are available on Messenger video calls and Messenger Room, and it will be coming soon to Instagram as well.

Facebook Stories October 19

The Verge reports that Facebook plans to change the company name to better reflect the companies focus on “the metaverse.”

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Facebook Stories October 18

Apple’s ad business has grown dramatically since the company’s App Tracking Transparency rules came into effect, says a new report.

The rules made it more difficult to target specific interest groups through third-party ad networks like those owned by Google and Facebook, making Apple’s own ad business far more valuable. But some suggest this is because the iPhone maker breaks its own privacy rules …

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Facebook Stories October 14

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month announced that WhatsApp end-to-end encrypted backups were on the way for those who like to store backups on cloud services like iCloud and Google Drive. That privacy feature is now “slowly” rolling out for both iOS and Android users.

Actual WhatsApp chats are always end-to-end encrypted, but this new feature means that any backups you choose to make get the same level of protection …

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Facebook Stories October 11

Facebook adds new ‘Audio’ tab with podcasts, live audio, more

After announcing its plans for audio initiatives, Facebook is launching a new hub for its US audience with podcasts, live audio, and short-form clips on its Facebook Watch page.

As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook is gathering all the audio formats it supports with a new Audio tab. The company also says that it’s also making its Clubhouse rival, Live Audio Rooms, “more broadly available to global users, and is beginning to roll out a new product called Soundbits, a sort of TikTok for audio offering short audio clips.”

There’s been growing concern about Instagram teen usage after leaked internal reports suggested that the app could be unhealthy for some teenage girls. App owner Facebook now says it is taking action to promote healthier usage.

Separately, an academic argues that lawmakers don’t understand teenagers, and that they are trying to legislate control of the wrong app …

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Facebook Stories October 8

Earlier this week, Facebook’s services went completely down for more than six hours. And now some users are reporting that Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp are not working again.

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Facebook Stories October 7

Facebook and Twitch messes both caused by configuration errors

Both the Facebook and Twitch messes were caused by configuration errors, admit the companies. A mistake by Facebook led to a prolonged global outage of all the company’s services, while a similar error by Twitch left all its files exposed to a hacker …

Facebook Stories October 5

Facebook continues to share more details about what exactly caused the six-hour outage that took down Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp on Monday. In a new blog post, Facebook dives into some of the technical details of what led to the outage, saying that it happened due to a mistake during one of its many “routine maintenance jobs.”

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Yesterday’s Facebook outage – which took down Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp as well as the main service – resulted from a mistake by the company’s own network engineers.

The mistake led to all of Facebook’s services being inaccessible, with one analogy likening it to a failure in the “air traffic control” services for network traffic …

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Facebook Stories October 4

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp faced a massive outage earlier today that took down all services offered by the company for over six hours. Although all of the company’s social networks are back online, that didn’t stop Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from losing more than $6 billion in a matter of hours due to today’s outage.

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Update: 5:55 p.m. ET: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger are slowly but surely coming back up after more than 6 hours of being down. Your mileage may vary for now, but the services are in the process of coming back to life.

Update 4:30 p.m ET: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp have now been down for five hours. In the latest update, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer says that Facebook is “experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore.” There is, however, no timeline on when to expect the services to come back online.

Head below for a potential explanation…


It’s not just you: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are all currently down for users around the world. We’re seeing error messages on all three services across iOS applications as well as on the web. Users are being greeted with error messages such as: “Sorry, something went wrong,” “5xx Server Error,” and more.

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A relatively simple change to the iPhone setup process would mean Apple could keep kids safe from social media apps, along with any other apps that shouldn’t be used by children.

The suggestion comes from a somewhat ironic source – Facebook’s former head of security…

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Facebook Stories September 30

Facebook is continuing to ramp up its efforts to deepen integration between Facebook and Instagram. This time, the company has announced a handful of updates to Facebook Messenger, including group cross-app communication for communicating with contacts from both Messenger and Instagram in one group.

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Facebook has attempted to defuse the controversy over its Instagram teen research by releasing two of the reports to the public, annotating them with what it says is important context.

The social network also accuses the WSJ, which obtained copies of the reports, of “mischaracterizing” their conclusions. The paper has not yet directly responded to that accusation, but has instead shared four more reports that Facebook did not make public …

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