Reflecting on 20 Years of Facebook

The world’s biggest social media platform has turned 20 years old. As a Harvard sophomore, Mark Zuckerberg first released a program called Facebook in February of 2004.

I was in Auckland, and over the next years, Facebook news and possibilities for business, started to bubble to the surface. Some of the first clients I supported were in 2007 and 2008. But back then, I was one of the only businesses doing this as many still grappled with the concepts and opportunities these platforms provided.

Over the next years, that program would then launch a company that would capture more than 3 billion users in value of a trillion dollars and make so much cash that it’s now giving back dividends to shareholders.

Facebook has kind of changed our lives, some good and some not so good. My charity, I’m Enough, is really focused on the impact of our digital world on young people. We know that Facebook was one of the first social platforms —MySpace before that. And then Instagram and later TikTok started to have a bigger influence on our young people’s lives. FOMO, the fear of missing out. The value of likes and the emphasis on this “like” and “follower” economy.

As a migrant to New Zealand, Facebook has helped me connect with people all over the world. Relatives, now scattered across the globe, schoolmates living in different lands, and uni friends or later colleagues that have spread their wings to other parts of the country or world.

How has Facebook changed our lives?

Social networking has changed lives. From those early days of Facebook when you needed a Harvard domain email to access the platform to today when many people have access to the platform. Things have certainly changed.

My early clients were even pre the business platform being created, and many of these clients had personal profiles I worked on. Back then, reach was possible with no ad spend, and we know that for businesses this has certainly changed in the last years.

A THROW BACK – Client review from 11 years ago.

Two years after Mark launched Facebook, he released it to the world and was able to create those communities which create a network effect that has literally, as you said, billions of people, almost half the earth on Facebook and its other platforms.

But there has been some negative publicity and real impacts for the Facebook Business (now called Meta).

• FOMO, to the point where teenage girls, according to Facebook’s own studies, are more prone to mental health issues as they use the platform.
• Economy of Likes is real and brings anxiety.
• FTC privacy violation episode.
• Election impact and Scrutiny in many countries.
• Misinformation management or over management.

What will the next years see for Meta? Time will tell. I do have some ideas but right now and happy to chat about those in another update but for now. I am still proud to use the car number plate F4CEBK. A number plate secured back in around 2009.

Happy 20th Birthday Facebook. It sure has been a ride.

By Cathy