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In 2004 it was “The Facebook” and it was only a college network in the US, in 2005 it became “Facebook” and spread to include european universities, in 2006 it spread across world wide universities and allowed adding high school students by invitation, at the end of 2006 early 2007, registration became open to anyone with valid email address.

The rest is history as they say.

I bet 95% of the people who read this entry, have a profile already on Facebook.

Multiple aquisitions were offered to Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard grad and the owner of Facebook, including the big names such as Yahoo!, Google, and Viacom, varying between $950 M to $2.3 B, yet all were rejected.

The developer of the site has incorporated many features into the site, ensuring maximum user-friendliness in adding profiles and connecting to other people, allowing the creation of social and geographical groups, which resulted in people doing more Facebook than beer / water / anything these days.

Even a “Facebook” platform is declared now, releasing APIs to allow people to add / develop functions to use it on the site, plus a free classifieds service allowing people to list and sell anything they would like to.
The site has 30+ million registered users, and the data on it is so valuable that universities, colleges, and companies’ managements use it sometimes to investigate more information about its employees or students, finding critical information such as true marital status, or alcohol and cigarette abuse, which is really bizarre!

While those who don’t are busy filing law suits against Facebook, claiming it reduces the productivity of employees at work, and distracting college / university students.

Lately rumors had it that even CIA uses the site, or arguably owns it, and promotes it to collect information about people willingly, and from across the globe.

A closer look at the privacy policy of Facebook reveals that your information registered on it is not 100% private / secure, as Facebook keeps the right of selling it to partners or organizations or 3rd parties they trust.

The strategy behind promoting the site was very smart, and it built up slowly over the course of 3 years, which creates a strong platform of growth and sustainability (like a virus :) ), unlike rival sites with same business plan of social networking, which boomed for a while then almost extincted, like Zorpia and Hi5, even Flickr now seems to struggle with facebook becoming number one photo site in the US.

Personally I have not registered on it, and will not, call me a throw back or crazy, but I do not believe in this form of social networking, I am already connected to all the people I know and care about, so it is useless to me, plus I am not mad about sharing my personal information with potential 3rd parties whom I do not know and no I do not trust Facebook’s judgement on that, plus seeing how other people are so addicted to it makes me hate it even more.

What amazes me though is that Etisalat has not blocked it yet! Although it has all the elements that the local ISP blocks sites for, like photo sharing, dating, classified listing, and open social networking! Hence why other sites are blocked, or keep getting blocked and unblocked every now and then (Zorpia, Hi5, partially Crag’s List, Flickr, partially expatriates, myspace, etc).

The only reason I can figure is that the guys themselves are on it, and got hit by the addiction too :)

Or maybe Facebook has grown too powerful now that the aftermath of blocking it will not be very smooth, given the new competitor operator Du who will launch their internet services across Dubai very soon – currently limited to TECOM areas.

Anyway, Chapeaux bas to Zuckerberg for the great success which is earned, the site is a benchmark for technology and user-friendly practices, and for those who were wondering what will the 2007 (after flickr in 05 and Youtube in 06) web hit will be, there goes your answer.

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