While normally Facebook reminds us of our friends and family’s birthdays, today we are reminding you of Facebook’s. Today on February 4th, Facebook is celebrating its 12th birthday. The social media platform created by Mark Zuckerburg was created for Harvard students in 2004. 12 years later Facebook has become on of the biggest social media platforms, a space to connect with friends, family, and all other acquaintances. Besides keeping us up to date with current events and friends’ weddings, Facebook has changed the life for its users in a plethora of ways. Below we list 12 ways Facebook changed the world.

1. Facebook Safety Check

Besides being one of the most used social media platforms, Facebook has also become our caring friend asking you if we are okay whenever we’re near danger. Not only will Facebook ask you if you’re safe, it will also ask all of your friends that are near the happening and will tell you whether they are safe or not. Facebook activated the Safety Check during the Paris attacks at the end of 2015, allowing users to check on their Paris-based friends. The team at Facebook noticed a lot of activity during the Paris Attacks and decided to activate the Safety Check during the tragic event. Mark Zuckerburg later stated: “Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for human disasters going forward as well.”

facebook social media safety check

2. 1.59 billion monthly active users (as of December 2015) – the largest social media network connecting people across the globe

Out of 7.4 billion people in the world, more than 1.5 billion people own a Facebook account. Can’t comprehend the amount of users? Yes, neither could we. Just to explain, over a billion people use their Facebook to connect with old school friends, to say happy birthday to their family, to speak to their closest friends that live on the different side of the world. There are over 1.5 billion people using the platform, and they all have their own story.

3. Social media for businesses – you can mention some of the features like Call to Action, Advertising, Pages

Besides it being a tool to connect with the people that you know, Facebook has also shifted the way companies use social media to connect with their customers. Facebook has a multitude of ways that business’ can use to their benefit. Instead of having a regular user page, businesses on Facebook can create a page that people can like and access information and new content. The Facebook page also gives businesses the opportunity to add a “Call to Action” button. The Facebook Call to Action buttons link to any destination on or off Facebook that is beneficial to the business.

Besides the shift to implanting social media for businesses, Facebook also changed the way companies advertise. No more spending thousands of dollars on a newspaper or television ad anymore. With Facebook you can now advertise for as little as $5. You choose the demographics of people you want to reach and Facebook delivers your ads to them. This saves you money and will also only go to people who can be genuinely interested in what you are offering.

4. Live streaming (rolling out)

Live streaming is a feature a lot of social media platforms revolve around today however, Facebook now has a live streaming feature on their own platform for users to live stream their friends and subscribers in real time. Besides the live videos from your friends, you can also discover the live streams of public figures and pages right in your News Feed.

5. The go to news source

PEW Research Center conducted a research last year to see how many people use social media, including Facebook, as a news source. The research showed that one out of 10 Americans use Twitter as a news source. For Facebook, 4 out of 10 Americans use Facebook as a news source.

6. Privacy

The platform that gives users (almost) full access to decide who they’re sharing their posts with, Facebook. In the last 12 years Facebook has had a lot of users post their most precious moments with their friends and family. Although these moments are great to share with your closest Facebook friends, you probably still want these moments to be private. Facebook has tweaked their privacy settings over the years. And even though they are transparent about what these settings mean and how you can implement them, Facebook is still looking to collect data. The 12-year old company does give its users full access to the privacy settings, designed in a user-friendly way so that everyone can understand the Facebook data policy.

7. A new marketing industry – social media marketing (employment and new departments that are managing social media marketing)

Facebook being used as a social media marketing tool is nothing new. With over a billion active people daily, it makes it the perfect place to market your products and services. Not only is it used as a social media marketing tool, companies are employing people and having departments solely for the purpose of using Facebook. Universities, colleges, and online course platforms are offering Facebook courses. Making it hard to realize that it only started as a Harvard socializing platform created by a 19-year old.

8. Virality and instant access to the information

With Facebook being the biggest social media platform at this time, and it being used as a news source to many, it only makes sense that world changing news is first posted on Facebook. An excellent example of this is the American Presidential elections in 2012 when Barack Obama became president for the second time. After posting this picture together with his wife celebrating his victory, it became the most liked picture of all times on Facebook with over 4 million likes. Viral much?

facebook social media barack obama

9. Customer service

Social media is all about connecting with others, and as a business, it’s all about connecting with your customers on the platform they’re already on. However, this also means connecting when a customer has a complaint, a question, or just wants to rant about how awful your business is. Not only is your Facebook page a platform used as a customer service tool, companies are now also using Facebook Messenger as a customer service tool. Make sure you hire skilled communicators for this task, since you’re not just talking to your customer, but perhaps also the rest of the 1.59 billion active users on Facebook.

10. Mobile – mobile users & apps

If you think about the amount of time spent on your phone, chances are big that you are on your phone at all times. Whether it is to get your news for the day, watch videos, or connect with your friends and family. Facebook’s last statistics results for 2015 showed that the social media platform had 934 million mobile daily active users. With a huge majority being on the mobile app, it means that most users see your posts and videos on their mobile phone. All the more reason for businesses to enable a mobile friendly interface for their website and videos.

11. Innovation

Mark and his team at Facebook are all about innovation, if you haven’t noticed already. Recent innovations created or thought of by Facebook has proved again how creative and unconventional Facebook is, and has been for the last 12 years. With innovations such as 360 videos, the Oculus Rift, and now Mark’s idea of creating an Artificial Intelligence to hang around with him and give him an extra hand when in need, makes us understand the reason for success the last 12 years.

12. Mark Zuckerberg – a year of books

How could we forget to mention the person who started the legendary Facebook 12 years ago? Mark Zuckerberg has become more than just the creator of Facebook. His transparency about his life, his family and his thoughts has made him a respectable person for millions of people. We hope to see more of Mark and his innovations in 2016 and beyond. Years of running, sharing pics of his newborn baby daughter and outfit picks for his “regular” days at work.

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