Facebook is the biggest social media platform. Facebook not only encompasses the Facebook platform, but also Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and several others. With three billion people across all of their platforms each month, it has the largest and most global audience. So it will come as no surprise that Facebook features in almost any social media marketer strategy. For anyone who wants to become a social media marketer, Facebook has a variety of essential platforms and tools, and it's crucial that you understand how they work. In this program, we will explore Facebook and its accompanying platforms in depth. It will help you market within the platform, but you'll also find that Facebook has a large influence on the social media marketing landscape today, and other platforms in the industry often follow its lead. As a result, a solid understanding of Facebook will set you up for success, even if you explore using other social media sites. In this video, we will take a brief look at the history of Facebook and how it became the group of apps and services that we know today. Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes while they were students at Harvard. At the time, different student houses on campus, each had their Facebooks, a folder or directory with all the members of each house. Mark and his friends wanted to create an online directory that will bring all of these Facebooks together. They called it a site with the intention to connect students all over the university and they called their directory, Thefacebook. Later, they dropped the from their name and the company was moved to Palo Alto in 2004. The site was an immediate success on the Harvard campus and soon, the four friends expanded access to their platform to more universities and high schools. Millions of people joined and in 2006, Facebook started giving access to employees at a few companies. In fact, at the time, I was at Yahoo and we were one of the companies that was given access. I still remember the hype it created in the company and how quick we were to all use this privilege and create our profiles. It helped us to connect to each other, but the platform became really powerful once access was opened up to everyone in 2006. Usage grew exponentially and long-lost connections were found, updates shared, and friendships rekindled. The core functionality of Facebook in the early days was exactly as it is now. You create a profile on the site and you find people to connect with and share updates with. But since then, Facebook has added a lot of features and new ways for people to interact. We'll learn all about that in future videos. Let's take a quick look through the company timeline first and see how Facebook grew over the years. Four years after its launch in 2004, Facebook launched its first mobile app for iOS. Later in 2008, Facebook introduced Facebook Messenger, an app to let people directly connect to each other to chat. Then in 2012, Facebook acquired photo-sharing app, Instagram. While Facebook already offered its users the ability to share photos, with the acquisition of Instagram, they added sharing of mobile photos. At the time of the acquisition, Facebook vouched to keep and build on Instagram strengths rather than integrating the functionality into Facebook, hence Facebook and Instagram have remained separate apps, each serving their specific audience. A few years later, in early 2014, Facebook announced it had bought a popular global cross-platform mobile messaging app, WhatsApp. WhatsApp's easy functionality would make it possible for more people to connect, an essential part of the Facebook mission. Shortly after, Facebook acquired Oculus VR, which at the time was the leader in immersive virtual reality technology and the seller of the Oculus Rift headsets that transport people into virtual reality. Using the headset, people can immerse themselves in a different reality and connect with others mostly for the purpose of playing games. At the time, Mark Zuckerberg in a press release said "Mobile is the platform of today and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play and communicate." This quote is helpful to understand the vision behind the focus on virtual reality. As Facebook grew, it used an internal version of its platform to help its employees stay connected and get work done called Workplace. In 2016, Facebook announced that Workplace would become available to any company around the world that wants to use it. It is yet another way for people to stay connected, but now at work. In 2018, Facebook introduced Portal, an immersive video calling device that lets people have video calls through Messenger or WhatsApp on the Portal device or even on their TV. With some neat augmented reality features and functionality that lets the camera follow you as you move around, it enhances the video calling experience. In 2019, Novi was introduced. Novi is a digital wallet created by Facebook that lets people send and hold Libra, a digital currency. Novi is new, but according to the press release from Facebook, it's meant to make sending money as easy as sending a message. You'll be able to use Novi as a stand-alone app as well as in Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook is young, but it has had a profound impact on the way we connect and interact around the world. In the next video, let's look at how Facebook's products enable growth for businesses around the world through different marketing opportunities.