The Social Media Giant
Facebook is a premier social networking site, with more than 1.44 billion users worldwide. The platform launched in 2004 as an interactive platform exclusively for college students. In 2006 the site expanded its audience significantly, opening its digital doors to anyone 13+ with a valid email address. This transition catapulted Facebook from a campus must-have to an ubiquitous digital go-to which, today, boasts nearly 1 billion active users daily who, on average, spend 21 minutes on the site.
At its core, Facebook is designed to help users connect with friends, family and other contacts through ongoing, real-time posts, photo and video sharing. Users sign up for a free account and, from there, create a customized profile page that includes key details about their lives—location, hometown, education and work history, interests, relationship status and hobbies, among other elements—and can “friend” others, enabling them to view their profiles. Additionally, registered users can post status updates including text, photos, videos and links—once a friendship is accepted, both users are linked on the platform, and can see one another’s updates within their personal homepage Newsfeed as well as interact with the shared content by replying/commenting, reposting or “Liking” it.
Beyond the personal and social application surrounding Facebook, there are a number of strong business uses for the platform. More than 30 million small businesses have profile pages, as do millions of associations, corporations, schools and other private and professional groups. Like personal accounts, these accounts are free and, once established, Facebook users can “Like” the business’ profile, content and shared information. For additional fees, businesses can advertise on Facebook, driving additional “Likes” to their profile and/or traffic to their website.
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