The company held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, and began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching an original peak market capitalization of 4 billion, a new record.

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A company representative called the milestone a "quiet revolution." In November 2010, based on Second Market Inc.

(an exchange for privately held companies' shares), Facebook's value was $41 billion.

Users can add other users as "friends", exchange messages, post status updates, share photos, videos and links, use various software applications ("apps"), and receive notifications of activity.

Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups organized by workplace, school, hobbies or other topics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work" or "Close Friends".

On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion.

Microsoft's purchase included rights to place international advertisements on the social networking site.

the benefits are many." Six days after the site launched, Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called Harvard

They claimed that he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.

Since 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though variations exist in the minimum age requirement, depending on applicable local laws.

The Facebook name comes from the face book directories often given to United States university students.

Facebook may be accessed by a large range of devices with Internet connectivity, such as desktop, laptop and tablet computers, and smartphones.