Happy Birthday Facebook - thanks for all the friends

It was 4 February 2004 that the first version of "The Facebook" went live. Starting as network for students to get to see who they were studying with at Harvard University, the service 11 years later gets to rival even China for the size of the population that use it. 1,3 billion people a month and over 800 million log on every day to read and share the stories of their lives with friends.

It is also a space than millions of brands choose to connect with customers. For news outlets it is one of the biggest sources of visitors to their websites.

The original design of the Facebook page. The person featured in the top left corner is a young Al Pacino.

The massive group of people using the service is being managed by a little over 4 500 staff with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg still setting the pace for the other social networks to follow. In 2013 the company had made over R66 billion.

To reflect on the anniversary, Facebook have highlighted the stories of friendship that have come about thanks to the platform.

One about a group of shark attack survivors that have connected on Facebook to advocate for shark conservation includes a South Africa survivor along with others from the four corners of the globe.

In release about some of the more unusual friendships they have calculated that two Facebook friends that grew up in Newcastle in the UK now live over 20 000km apart with one in Spain and the other in New Zealand.

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