Is it any secret that Facebook wants to rule the world? In the 11 short years since the social media giant opened its gates to the public (it had previously only been for college students), nearly one-third of the global population has signed up. More recently, the company has absorbed Instagram, another behemoth in the social media space, ensuring that anyone with a smartphone is tapped into the Facebook network. And let’s not ignore founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s barely concealed presidential aspirations, which are only magnified—and, to a degree, complicated—by the fact that Facebook has been co-sponsoring presidential debates for the past three cycles.
Yes, you know all this. But do you know why the site went with a blue color scheme? How about the funky hidden language options? Do you know how much money Zuck has turned down over the years for what he calls “his baby?” We bet you didn’t. And if you did, try your luck at the 15 things you don’t know about Google.
As a New Yorker profile of Zuckerberg revealed, the guy is red-green colorblind. When it came down to designing the front-end of his social media platform, Zuck chose, naturally, colors that he can see: blue and white. Incidentally, it worked to Zuckerberg’s advantage: blue often represents trust. For some savvy moves you can use to build trust online, here’s how to choose the perfect LinkedIn profile picture.
Under the language settings, you can choose pretty much everything imaginable, from French to Russian to Hrvatski. More interestingly, however, is a smattering of English options. In addition to U.S. and U.K. British, there’s English (upside down), which inverts all text, and is incredibly annoying; and English (pirate), which switches all language to a classic pirate dialect. If you want to switch your language to something cooler than “U.S. English,” maybe pick up a new one on your commute.
Once upon a time, Facebook had an unofficial logo: Scarface himself. If you frequented the site before 2007, there was a photo of man, seemingly lost in melancholic contemplation, and artfully done up in 1s and 0s—all in blue. (He was literally blue. Get it?) Turns out, that guy was Al Pacino.
It’s perhaps the most ubiquitous part of Facebook—the “like” button. “Adam ‘liked’ your photo”; “Jessica ‘liked’ your post.” But believe it or not, it wasn’t always part of the platform. In fact, Facebook didn’t introduce “liking” until February 2009—five years, to the month, after the site initially launched. Today, of course, everyone from your mom to marketers to money-making celebrities want as many as they can get. The “like” button currently has six different emotions: like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry.
You know the theory: every person on earth is separated by six people (or less) from every other person on earth. Well, Facebook has—at least among the nearly 2 billion users of the site—nullified this theory. According to the company’s internal research team, each Facebook user is separated by every other user by 3.57. Unfortunately, “Three-point-five-seven degrees of separation” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
In the wake of the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, thousands of people celebrated their pride and publicly announced their sexuality on the platform. Over the course of that entire year (2015), more than 800,000 individuals came out on Facebook. That’s 800,000 more people to brush up on the 10 pre-marriage conversations for savvy couples.
For a while, it was Shakira. But for the past year, Cristiano Ronaldo—yes, the international superstar soccer player—has the most popular Facebook page, coming in with more than 121 million “likes.” Considering Shakira has stagnated at around 104 million, Cristiano will likely hold his reign for some time. (Vin Diesel is in third. But he’s probably not furious, since, with 101 million “likes,” he’s closing in fast on Shakira.)
All the way back in 2006, Yahoo offered Zuckerberg a cool billion—on two separate occasions—for his company. At the behest of Sean Parker, one of the original guys who put up the dough for Facebook, and a mentor figure to Zuck, Facebook turned it down. As legend has it, if Yahoo put $1.1 billion on the table, Facebook’s board would’ve forced Zuckerberg to sell. Today, Facebook has a market cap of $430 billion. As it so happens, owning and sticking with your own business, like Zuck here, is the easiest way to join the 1 percent.
Shortly after Yahoo struck out in courting Facebook (twice!), Microsoft decided to try their hand. The CEO at the time, Steve Ballmer, knowing Zuck wouldn’t sell wholly, bought a 1.6% stake of the company, valuing the social media platform at $15 billion. According to industry legend, Microsoft then simply offered $15 billion outright; Zuck, of course, turned that down. But as Ballmer recently revealed to CNBC, the price was closer to $24 billion. Again, today, Facebook has a market cap of $430 billion. If you want to invest as well as Zuck did, learn the 20 investment moves the smartest guys are making right now.
Well, well, well. It seems the tech industry, as with life, is a flat circle. Years after Zuck turned down multi-billion dollar offers for his fledgling, promising tech company, he put up a multi-billion dollar offer for someone else’s fledgling, promising tech company. Yes, Zuckerberg offered to buy Evan Spiegel’s Snapchat for $3 billion in cash. Spiegel turned the offer down. His company has since gone public, and is now worth more than $20 billion.
Facebook has already utterly conquered the social media space, and now, they’re coming for the next cutting-edge thing: virtual reality. Back in 2014, the company closed a deal for $2 billion to buy Oculus, the pioneers of modern-day virtual reality. When we’re all walking around with computers strapped to our faces, playing kickass video games, you’ll know who to blame.
Say what? The average Facebook user spends about 35 minutes per day on the platform. And even though there are nearly 2 billion users, the company claims “only” 1.2 billion are daily actives users. That amounts to 42 billion minutes spent each and every day, by the collective human race, on Facebook. Put in other words, that’s 79,856 years—a good 75,000 before math was even invented.
It’s always hilarious when your uncle says, “Oh, I saw it on the Facebook.” It’s arguably more hilarious that this ridiculous phrase was the platform’s original name. When Facebook was originally founded, back in a Harvard dorm room, the domain was www.thefacebook.com. Luckily, Parker, as the lore has it, urged Zuck to drop the “the.” Parker had also preemptively registered www.facebook.com in the event Zuckerberg went along with it. (Legend also has it that Parker helped Zuckerberg transform into a much more fearsome manager.)
Well, not technically, but close. Much has been espoused about Zuckerberg’s disdain of The Social Network, the 2010 film that portrayed him as calculating and cold-hearted. So here’s a fascinating tidbit. Once upon a time, The West Wing—written by The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin—ranked among Zuck’s favorite shows, and his personal Facebook page corroborated this fact. However, after the film aired, eagle-eyed observers would’ve noticed The West Wing suddenly and conspicuously absent from his list of “likes.”
Facebook PR, if you’re reading this: Can we visit?
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