Facebook Turns 12 Today, And Here’s How It’s Celebrating

Social network celebrates “Friend’s Day” by delivering personalized video to a user’s feed.

Facebook Turns 12 Today, And Here’s How It’s Celebrating
[Photo: Flickr user r. nial bradshaw]

It’s a bit crazy when you think about it, but Facebook is 12 years old today. On February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched his fledgling social media site at Harvard. And the rest, as they say, is history. Twelve years on, Facebook has become the largest social media company ever. It influences myriad aspects of our lives and recently passed a billion active users each day.

It’s also kind of doing what candy makers and online retailers have tried to do in the past by deeming February 4th as an unofficial holiday that it hopes catches on: Friend’s Day. The good news is at least Facebook isn’t overtly trying to get you to buy gifts to send to your friends on its holiday. Instead it’s giving users a gift by delivering personalized Friend’s Day videos to a user’s news feed.

Much like the company’s end-of-year personalized videos that show a user’s greatest moments from the past year, Friend’s Day videos show a user their algorithm-picked best moments with friends that you’ve shared on Facebook. These personalized videos will begin appearing in everyone’s news feed by midday Thursday. But don’t worry, they won’t be shown publicly on your page unless you want them to be. You can also choose to edit the moments in the video to better tailor it to the friends, you know, you actually care about.

One other cool thing Facebook announced along with the Friend’s Day videos was an updated degrees-of-separation metric. This is a number that shows the degrees of separation between a typical pair of Facebook users. In 2011 the degrees of separation its users had was 3.74 degrees. Back then Facebook had less than a billion monthly users, and that number meant that those users were, on average, connected to each other by less than 3.74 people.

Since 2011, Facebook’s user base has more than doubled in size—growing to over 1.59 billion active monthly users. Given the doubling of its base, you would expect the degrees-of-separation metric to increase, but the opposite has in fact happened. Facebook today announced that in 2015 the degrees of separation its users now have is down to 3.57 degrees, meaning we are all becoming more connected with each other.

You can check out a sample Friend’s Day video below and then check your timeline today to edit and share your own custom one.


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About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, freelance journalist, and former screenwriter represented worldwide by The Hanbury Literary Agency. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books.



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