1.1 Facebook - the largest social network in the world In the last decade Internet has enabled and accelerated new methods of social interconnection through diversity of forums, blogs and social networks. According to surveys in 2010, the most visited social network website in the world is Facebook having more than 500 million active users. Facebook is the virtual social network service which offers its users to create the personal profile on the Internet, add other users as friends, exchange messages and follow other users' updates made on their profiles; it provides plenty of other functions and activities. The website was accidentally created in February 2004 by Harvard students and only afterwards they decided to make out of Facebook a business. Nowadays, it is operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc. Table 1 shows us that Facebook ranked for the first time as top 1 on the list among all websites. It was accounted for 8.93% of visitors between January and November 2010. Google.com ranked second with 7.19%, followed by Yahoo Mail - 3.52%, Yahoo! - 3.30% and YouTube - 2.65%. Comparing to the Facebook's position in 2009, we can see that it has expanded very quickly during the last year. As some of major websites on the Internet, the significant part of Facebook's revenue comes from advertising. At every moment users click on the advertisement banners, Facebook receives money from the companies which promote their products on Facebook pages. It was stated that advertising campaigns are not very successful on Facebook rating between 0.04% and 0.05% (400 - 500 clicks for every one million pages) comparing to another search giant Google.com which has almost 8% (80 000 clicks for every one million searches) Other Facebook's revenue is collected through various products offered by the websites: gifts for users' friends, set the unlimited feature for online games and so on which can be paid through users' phones by sending messages or debit cards. Year Revenue Growth 2006 $52 -- 2007 $150 188% 2008 $280 87% 2009 $775 177% 2010 $2,000 158% Table 2 represents the revenue of the company from 2006 to 2010 in millions US$. Facebook expanded itself rapidly during the last years by focusing on networking through virtual created groups and social activism. It continues growing on the market and supposed by 2011 the revenue will be about 4 000$. Facebook has more than 17 000 employees and 12 offices around the world. The main competitors on the virtual market are MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. 1.2 Virtual products offered by Facebook Users on Facebook can create profiles which contain their photos, lists of personal interests, personal information, etc. The social network was created with the purposes of sharing the experiences, hobbies, and interests, meet up with new people, communicate with friends, organize events and many others. Users have a right to control who sees the information they have shared, set up their privacy settings. The only things Facebook requires from users are the real name, profile picture which are accessible to everyone and email address - last one accessible only to certain users by their wish. Users can create and join the group which they find interested in as well as like "like pages" that are created to maintain the advertising activity. Facebook has a number of functions by which users can interact with each other. One of them is the wall. People can post messages on the wall, but the bad point is that all friends might read it and comment it. Other way of communicating with people is sending private messages which can be seen only by 2 users. Although, user can use the feature "Poke" this allows users to send poke in virtual space. On this website uploading and commenting photos are very often used, where users can "tag" a friend on a picture. For instance, if a photo contains a user's friend, then the user can tag the friend in the photo. It is the most popular function on the website. It allows user to upload an unlimited number of photos, meanwhile the image hosting services like Flickr and Photobucket apply the limited amount of photos that can be uploaded. "Status" permits users to inform their friends about whereabouts and actions. The important part of Facebook is the "News Feeds" which appears on every user's website. It highlights the information about other users' profiles changes, upcoming events and birthdays of the user's friends. Facebook launched gifts which allow users to send virtual gifts to their friends that appear on the recipient's profile. Gift can be purchased through mobile phones with only $1.00 and personalized message can be attached to the gift. The website released the instant chatting application called "Chat" which permits user to communicate with friends and is similar in functionality to desktop-based instant messengers (MSN, Yahoo! Messenger). As of April 2010, according to The New York Times, countries with most Facebook users are the United States, the United Kingdom and Indonesia.
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