When they’re not rigging elections, sowing discord, or amplifying hate social networks are a fun, simple, and convenient way to stay in touch. However, they suffer serious privacy issues under current implementations.
Electronic social networks, in various forms, are older than Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The first online bulletin-board enabling people to chat and hang out virtually was created by David Wooley and Doug Brown in 1973 on the PLATO system. Subsequently, Usenet, a similar bulletin-board system that ran primarily on email via the internet, dates to 1979. Afterwards, online communities sprang up on private bulletin-board system in future years. America Online, CompuServe, and The Well all had some form of social networking.
The most notable modern implementation is Friendster, founded in 2002. At one point it had 115 million active users and sold for $39.5 million. However, it eventually botched a strategic pivot to a gaming site and died in June 2015. Eventually, MySpace blasted on the web in 2003, eclipsing Friendster. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp purchased it for $508 million in July 2005. However, thanks to infamous internal political fihghts, they ran it into the ground and sold it for $35 million in June 2011.
As of 2019, there are a countless number of social networks. Unquestionably, the current reigning champ of social networking is Facebook. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in 2004, Facebook boasts over two billion active users and is on-track to recognize about $69 billion in 2019 revenue. Facebook also owns social media darling Instagram, which is especially popular with young people, and communication tool WhatsApp that they paid $21.8 billion for, or $55 per user.