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Leah Nylen

How Facebook grew into trouble

Life-sized cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are displayed by an advocacy group on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018. | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Started in 2004 as a project to connect Harvard students, Facebook now has 2.74 billion active users worldwide and owns three of the 10 most popular mobile apps — Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

And, state and federal regulators allege, it has grown into a corporate threat that uses its power to scoop up rivals and strangle competition.

Here's how the social network has evolved:

Feb. 4, 2004

The landing page of Facebook when it debuted in 2004. | Thefacebook

June 2004

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel speaks in Cleveland in 2016. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

July 29, 2004

Founding President of Facebook and co-founder of Napster and Plaxo Sean Parker speaks during a panel discussion on Sept. 22, 2008. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

October 2005

Sept. 26, 2006

Jan. 10, 2007

Social networking site Facebook is displayed on a mobile phone. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

May 2007

March 2008

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, speaks on Dec. 2, 2011 in New York City. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

February 2009

The WhatsApp messenger app is shown. | AP Photo

December 2009

February 2010

Oct. 1, 2010

Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg are pictured in a still from the film "The Social Network." | POLITICO Screengrab

Oct. 6, 2010

June 28, 2011

Vic Gundotra, Google Senior Vice President of Engineering, talks about Google Plus at the 2012 Google I/O conference in San Francisco. | Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Aug. 9, 2011

Nov. 29, 2011

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaks during a town hall meeting on April 20, 2011 | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Apr. 3, 2012

April 9, 2012

An Instagram photo is shared with Facebook on an iPhone Monday, April 9, 2012. | Karly Domb Sadof/AP Photo

May 12, 2012

The Facebook logo appears on a display inside the NASDAQ Marketsite on May 17, 2012. | CX Matiash/AP Photo

Aug. 22, 2012

October 2012

Jan. 24, 2013

Zuckerberg commented on the National Security Agency's surveillance tactics during a 2013 interview.

March 2013

Oct. 13, 2013

Fall 2013

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel poses for a photo in Los Angeles on Oct. 24, 2013. | Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

Feb. 19, 2014

March 13, 2014

March 25, 2014

Adriana Ojeda uses an Oculus headset at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference on April 18, 2017 in San Jose, Calif. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

April 10, 2014

April 28, 2015

Aug. 5, 2015

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on October 23, 2019. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


Facebook executives approach the group video chatting network Houseparty about an acquisition and are rebuffed.

October 2016

Oct. 3, 2016

Sheryl Sandberg said in 2016 that Facebook does not think fake news "swayed the election."

May 18, 2017

June 27, 2017

Zuckerberg in 2017 announced a series of policy changes and efforts to cooperate with the U.S. government to curb election interference.

March 17, 2018

March 26, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on April 10, 2018. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

April 10, 2018

October 2018

October 2018

Feb. 6, 2019

Zuckerberg addressed Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy on Oct. 17, 2019. He defended Facebook's "free expression."

July 24, 2019

Facebook confirms the FTC is investigating the company over alleged antitrust violations.

Sept. 6, 2019

New York Attorney General Tish James speaks during a press conference in New York City. | Getty Images

Feb. 11, 2020

May 15, 2020

July 29, 2020

Dec. 9, 2020

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