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2/4/2014
10:46 AM
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham
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10 Famous Facebook Flops

Facebook has suffered some ignominious strikeouts during its 10 years. Consider these 10 features and products that didn't fly.



Few could have predicted the rise of Facebook when Harvard University sophomore Mark Zuckerberg launched it with friends from his dorm room 10 years ago.

Back then it was "thefacebook.com," a social network exclusively for Harvard students. The service had no photo albums, no Timeline, no News Feed. It was a bare-bones, static profile page where users could list their basic information and interests.

Facebook's popularity rose quickly, amassing hundreds of thousands of users as it expanded to colleges and universities, high schools, and beyond. The social network boasts more than a billion users worldwide today.

In a recent interview, Zuckerberg reflected on Facebook's tenure and his own success: "I'm just really lucky. I really feel this deep responsibility, and I try to help folks here feel how unique of a position we're in, and that we need to do the best that we can," he said.

[From a Harvard dorm room to 1 billion users. Read Facebook History: 10 Defining Moments.]

While Facebook's rise to fame was fast, it wasn't without obstacles: In the last 10 years, the social network endured its fair share of turmoil in countless lawsuits and numerous privacy debacles. Just months after launching in 2004, Harvard University rival social network ConnectU filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that Zuckerberg copied its idea, stealing source code and intellectual property.

The social network has been at the center of many other lawsuits since then. The company settled two: one concerning Facebook Beacon, its controversial ad platform, and another involving Sponsored Stories, another type of ad. Both lawsuits centered on users' privacy.

Facebook reported that it was profitable for the first time in 2009. That year, the company brought in $777 million in revenue -- nearly triple that of 2008, SEC documents later revealed. It has come a long way since then. Last week, Facebook reported fourth-quarter sales of $2.6 billion, up 63% from the same time last year.

In a decade, Zuckerberg's team converted thefacebook.com from a standalone profile page to a social network with a bevy of features: Timeline, News Feed, Chat, Messaging, advertising, Pages, Facebook Credits, photo albums, commenting, sharing, and more.

Along the way, Facebook has tested a number of experimental designs and features, green-lighting some and killing others. Here's a look at 10 features from Facebook's past that didn't survive. Which ones got you riled, Facebook users?

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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