This Is How Facebook Has Changed Over the Past 12 Years

Happy anniversary, Facebook! You've come a long way since being available only to college students

By Jenna Mullins Feb 04, 2016 6:33 PMTags
Facebook EvolutionJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Happy anniversary, Facebook! What is the gift theme for 12 years? It's hot fudge, right? Quick, someone pour hot fudge all over Mark Zuckerberg!

To celebrate the anniversary of Facebook's debut on the World Wide Web, we thought we'd take a look back at what the social media site used to look like, way back when it was only available for Harvard students and "poking" was still a thing. Remember poking? That was a weird time for everyone.


If you've seen The Social Network, then you know that Facebook started as just a website for Harvard students. This is what the login page looked like back then. Notice how "Harvard University" is in giant letters? We get it, Mark.


By 2005, it was opening up to other schools, and we remember checking the login page every single day to see if our school was finally added to the list. If not, we just stole our login from friends at other schools to stalk our high school enemies. Kids today don't know how good they have it because Facebook has always been available to them and everyone they knew. Back in 2005, the social media struggle was real.

Above, Mark shares a photo of his profile from 2005 at a Facebook conference. The profile pages were plain or "minimalistic," if you want to give it a fancy spin. There was also a notification on your profile that said "This is you." You know, to make sure you knew who you were looking at. Plus, status updates all had to begin with "is" so it always read something like: "John is annoyed that his friend Brad won't let him burn Mariah's The Emancipation of Mimi album." 


2006 was when the Mini-feed was born, which was basically a play-by-play of your Facebook activity. This turned FB stalking to a whole new level, because you could keep track of what people were doing, aka have they updated their relationship status yet?!

And if you don't remember poking, you should feel blessed. It was both a blessing and a curse because you could kind of, sort of flirt with someone you liked or you could just annoy the crap out of your friends. This was the explanation Facebook gave in 2006 in the FAQ sections about that weird feature: "We have about as much of an idea as you do. We thought it would be fun to make a feature that had no real purpose and to see what happens from there. So mess around with it, because you're not getting an explanation from us."


By 2007, anyone 13 years and older with an email address could access Facebook. This was also the year that the News Feed launched, which meant you could see what all your friends had been doing since the last time you logged in. Also, remember the bumper sticker craze? 


Kim White/Getty Images

Facebook goes mobile! Peep that early model of the iPhone up in that photo. When Facebook hit your phone, you could no longer run from your dad's Facebook requests.



This was also the year the real-time News Feed made its debut (shown in the photo above), and people hated it. They said it was too much like Twitter, with the constant, real-time updates of what people were doing. 


This is what the Facebook login paged look like in 2010. Clearly, the website had taken over the world.


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In 2011, Facebook launched a whole new design. You could add a cover photo, and the ticker of your friends' Facebook happenings now stayed docked in the right hand side. And the biggest change emerged: The Timeline. Now profiles were more about showing what you were sharing and posting and less about your information, like relationship status, sex, age, etc.

Present Day

Celebs have a Facebook page. Your mom has a Facebook page. Your mom's Etsy store selling crocheted iPad cases has a Facebook page. Your cat has a Facebook page. Basically, we can barely remember what life was like before Facebook, and while we're not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, we are sure that Facebook is here to stay.

Happy anniversary, FB! You don't look a day over 6.