Facebook is the largest online social network with a 51% market penetration among all social media users worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 as reported by the Global Web Index. That amounts to over one billion active users, a milestone reached in September 2012.
Facebook was founded in 2004 by Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg (current chairman and CEO), Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The site originally targeted Harvard students and gradually expanded to students at other universities, then high school students and, eventually to anyone over the age of thirteen.
The history of the company’s founding (and the resulting lawsuits) were documented in the 2009 book, The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich, which became the basis for the 2010 film, The Social Network.
Facebook became a public company in May 2012 through one of the largest IPOs in history. The widely criticized IPO – the Wall Street Journal labeled it a fiasco ¬– valued the company at $38 per share making the paper worth of the company $104 billion. The stock price quickly fell reaching $17.55 in September 2012 before rebounding, eventually returning to its offering price in July 2013. In August 2013 the stock trade between $36.56 and $42.34.
The company cracked the 2013 Fortune 500 list of top U.S. companies appearing in the 482nd position based upon 2012 revenues of $5.1 billion.