Why Did Mark Zuckerberg Change The Name Of Facebook

Evolution of Social Networking

Facebook has become an integral part of modern life, with more than 2.3 billion users so far. Before its launch as a revolutionary platform for social networking, the website was first titled ‘TheFacebook’ by founder Mark Zuckerberg and was accessible only to college students. TheFacebook was created on February 4th, 2004 and quickly became the largest free social network on the internet. But why did Mark Zuckerberg change the name of the website from the original ‘TheFacebook’ to ‘Facebook’?
The first concept of social networking was started by Michael Shattner in 1992. He created an online service called ‘Net Communities’ that allowed users to connect and exchange emails online. The first publically launched social network was Six Degrees, launched in April of 1997. The aim of the site was to allow users to build out a network of friends using surnames, location and also gender. The site was eventually shut down in 2000, due to low user engagement.
Next came Friendster, created by a software engineer Jonathan Abrams. Friendster became the most popular social networking at the time, with more than 70 million active users by 2004. The site allowed users to build out networks of contacts, and then tell people within their network about events, activities, and more. It also allowed its users to post comments, photos and videos.
It was just a few months before Friendster’s launch in 2002, that Mark Zuckerberg came up with his idea for creating a similar type of platform for college students. It was then on October 28, 2003 TheFacebook was born, where Zuckerberg and a few of his fellow students at Harvard began their creation of a new way for their peers to communicate.
The name “TheFacebook” was chosen because of the physical facebook yearbook that was used at the majority of universities in the United States. Yearbooks were a place where college-going students could see their peers as well as faculty members. In the same manner, TheFacebook showcased profiles of students which they could view and communicate with.
Branching out, TheFacebook soon became accessible to students across multiple universities in the United States and even overseas. This marked the start of an International social network, something which Friendster had not achieved.
Soon, the concept of TheFacebook took the world by storm, leaving rival Friendster a distant second. By late 2004 Friendster had taken a sharp decline in both user engagement and growth rate. As Mark Zuckerberg and his team expanded their platform and as it started becoming a household name, it was decided that the website needed to drop the ‘The’ in its name.
This is how TheFacebook evolved into Facebook, and how the founder Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of the website from TheFacebook to Facebook.

Growth of Facebook

As Facebook gained popularity, the number of users exponentially grew. Zuckerberg was confident in expanding their platform and soon enough, it started accepting members outside of the college networking. This expanded their user base exponentially and the rate of growth kept increasing.
By 2006, it had become the number one social networking site in the world. This was the same year that Facebook made the first billion dollar investment from Microsoft. Facebook had become such a huge phenomenon, that Microsoft wanted a part of the pie. In order to further increase its presence, Facebook found ways to launch its platform on mobile devices.
Facebook started gaining more momentum as it began offering services like location-based check-ins with ‘Places’. People could now find and interact with each other outside the traditional college campus via their mobile devices.
The next step with Facebook was the expansion of the platform to the global audience. By pushing the boundaries outside of college student networking and creating ways for people to interact, Facebook made sure its users didn’t feel like they’re talking to strangers, they were talking to their friends and acquaintances.

Impact of Name Change on Promotion

After the name change from TheFacebook to Facebook, marketing experts agree that the brand identity shifted from an exclusive club as a private networking site for college students, to something much larger and more accessible.
This helped the company build its user base as a more open and accessible platform that people from all backgrounds could join and use to their advantage. The new name created more brand awareness and coherence, ensuring the website maintained their originally intended use, despite the increased user base.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts agree that the removal of ‘The’ significantly helped the brand with organic search visibility on the web. It is a well-known fact that search engine crawlers and algorithms find it easier to crawl and index brands when they have only one word.
As a result of this name change and global reach, Facebook gained more exposure and publicity. This, in turn, had a snowballing effect, contributing in making the social network the biggest social media platform by 2008.

Adoption of Facebook by Corporations

In addition to gaining its own integrated user base, Facebook also proved to be an integral part of the corporate world. Companies adopted the platform for professional networking and meetings.
Facebook attributed its overall integration to generate new business opportunities for people. As per data obtained from the US Chamber of Commerce, almost 64% of small business owners were actively using social media websites, with Facebook as the primary platform.
Moreover, many recruiters were also heavily relying on Facebook profiles of potential candidates for more detailed information. It was found to be an easier way to match up candidates with job opportunities, formulating potential partnerships.

Security Concerns of FaceBook

However, of late, Facebook has experienced a literal ‘privacy catastrophe’ due to the scandalous Cambridge Analytica data scandal and other user privacy leakages. This has led to a downfall in public perception, forcing the network to introduce more stringent methods of data security and privacy.
In response to the growing public grievances, Facebook aims to strengthen its public image by introducing data security and privacy measures like facial recognition and face matching, better encryption protocols, and by banning apps which have enabled data harvesting.

Legislation Against Facebook

In addition to the privacy concerns, multiple countries have initiated legal proceedings against the website. This includes an ongoing legal debate between Epic Games and Facebook in the US and China’s internet censorship case against the company.
These events come as a massive setback for Facebook’s position in the global market as a provider of services to its network of users. Moreover, the very future of Facebook in a few of these regions is currently under considerable doubt and legal scrutiny.

Future of Facebook

According to recent market reports, Facebook continues to lead the global ranking of the top social media websites, with a vast majority of its userbase located in North and South America as well as several European countries.
Despite set-backs due to recent privacy breaches and legal issues, Facebook is relatively stable and remains as a key platform in the world of social media. With its continued stronghold in the global market, Facebook looks to remain a core part of many people’s lives for years to come.

Inter-Connectivity with Facebook

Facebook has also gained popularity in areas such as gaming, virtual reality, digital payments and e-commerce, leading to an increase in interconnectivity. It has become a crucial element in the business models of many companies who heavily depend on the social media behemoth’s services.
Apart from buying and selling products and services, Facebook is also leading the way for people to engage in virtual reality gaming, and this is all thanks to the Oculus Rift which Mark Zuckerberg purchased for $2 billion in 2014. Now, people are able to create and virtually explore a completely different world with the help of Facebook’s Oculus Rift technology.


Mark Zuckerberg’s TheFacebook, now renamed to Facebook, has truly revolutionized the way people connect. It has become an integral part of online sharing and the current culture of digital media. It has led the way for new, innovative business opportunities and employs millions of people worldwide.
Facebook continues to be a lifeblood for many companies and corporations, providing tools that can help increase their revenues and visibility. As for Mark Zuckerberg and his team, their ambition still lies in creating innovative technology and tools that can be used by everyone to make their lives easier.

Bessie Littlejohn is an experienced writer, passionate about the world of technology and its impact on our modern lives. With over 10 years experience in the tech industry, Bessie has interviewed countless tech innovators, founders and entrepreneurs, providing valuable insight into the minds of some of the most influential people in the industry. Also an avid researcher and educationalist, she strives to educate her readers on the very latest advancements within this rapidly changing landscape. With her highly esteemed background in information security engineering, Bessie’s writings provide both insight and knowledge into a complex subject matter.

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