By John McKenna
Facebook is fast approaching the point at which it will be used regularly by a third of the planet.
In its results for the first quarter of 2017, the company said it had 1.94 billion monthly active users — 17% more than a year earlier.
Today Facebook is a household name but rewind the clock 13 years and few outside US colleges had heard of it. Here’s a timeline of the rise of the world’s most popular social network.
The rise of a social juggernaut
2004 0-1 million users
Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, Andrew McCollum and Eduardo Saverin launch thefacebook.com, a social network for US college students. 1 million are active on the network by the end of the year.
2005 6 million users
thefacebook.com officially drops “the” and becomes Facebook. Adds US high school and international school networks.
2006 12 million users
Facebook expands registration beyond high school and college students so anyone anywhere can join the network.
2007 58 million users
Marketplace, Facebook Ads, video and mobile platform all launch.
2008 150 million users
Spanish version of the platform and iPhone application launch, alongside the introduction of the chat function.
2009 360 million users
The “Like” button is launched.
2010 600 million users
Construction begins on a custom-built data centre in Oregon, and Facebook Places launches.
2011 845 million users
Oregon data centre opens, Video Calling and Facebook for iPad are introduced.
2012 Over 1 billion users
Facebook passes the 1 billion user mark in October 2012. Earlier in the year, the company acquires Instagram and launches on the NASDAQ stock market.
2013 1.23 billion users
Donate button launches, and Instagram passes 100 million users.
2014 1.39 billion users
Trending function launches and Facebook announces acquisitions of WhatsApp and Oculus.
2015 1.59 billion users
Messenger application launches as well as a Live video for public figures.
2016 1.86 billion users. Facebook Live is rolled out to all users, and Messenger passes 1 billion monthly users.
2017 Facebook confirms it expects to pass 2 billion monthly users in 2017. The company begins a crackdown on fake news after being accused of failing to tackle the problem during elections.