25 surprising facts about Facebook

We tracked down some of the intriguing facts about Facebook, including the most popular person, the most Liked photo and the original Facebook ‘face’

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25 things you probably don’t know about Facebook

Facebook may have started out as a small website available only to Harvard students, but the site has enjoyed what is arguably an unparalleled level of growth over the past 12 years. Whereas some social networks of years past have tended to cater to one particular demographic, Facebook is unique insofar that it is used and enjoyed by both teens and adults alike, not to mention the many businesses and organizations use it to engage with customers and patrons. Indeed, for many people across the globe, Facebook is the one site that they tend to spend the most time on a day-to-day basis.

With Facebook more popular today than ever, not to mention more profitable than ever, we’ve tracked down some of the more interesting, peculiar and fascinating facts about the social networking giant.

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The most popular person on Facebook is Cristiano Ronaldo

Of all the famous celebrities and politicians on Facebook, none is more popular than Cristiano Ronaldo, the exceedingly talented soccer player from Portugal. As it stands now, Ronaldo’s Facebook page currently boasts more than 116 million Likes.

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Facebook has 1.71 billion active users

Per Facebook’s most recent earnings report, the site now has more than 1.71 billion active users. Put differently, more than 25 percent of the earth’s population is now on Facebook.

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The most liked photo on Facebook is Barack Obama hugging Michelle

With more than 4.5 million Likes, this photo of Barack Obama embracing his wife Michelle is the most popular photo ever uploaded to Facebook. Interestingly, the photo was taken in 2012 in the wake of Obama’s successful re-election campaign.

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Facebook’s “Like” button used to have a different name

Now somewhat iconic, Facebook’s venerable “Like” button began its life as an “Awesome” button, according to one of Facebook’s early engineers.

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Facebook’s main color is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is color-blind

The primary color for Facebook has always been and will likely always be blue. This is likely the result of CEO Mark Zuckerberg being red-green colorblind. That being the case, it’s worth noting that Zuckerberg in a 2010 interview with in the New Yorker said, “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue.”

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The average Facebook user has 155 friends

Teenagers and college students may boast thousands of friends, but most people have only about 155 friends in their social network.

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Facebook was originally Harvard only

Facebook at launch was available only to Harvard students. Following that, access to the site spread slowly among other Ivy League schools along with elite institutions such as Stanford and MIT. From there, Facebook steadily became available at schools in the Big 10 and the Southeastern Conference before going live at all colleges and universities. Eventually, Facebook opened up the site to individuals who weren’t in school, as well as to high-school students.

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Facebook users are beyond addicted

Seventy percent of Facebook users log in to the site every single day of the week. What’s more, the average Facebook user is on the site for upwards of 50 minutes every single day.

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The average degree of separation is just 3.5 people

You know the old game six degrees of separation? Well, you can toss that out the window. According to data released by Facebook, the average user is separated from any other given user by an average of just 3.5 people.

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Facebook is extremely popular with hackers

According to data released by Facebook, hackers cumulatively try to compromise more than 600,000 Facebook accounts every day.

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The first incarnation of Facebook was a site called Facemash

Before Facebook became the social networking giant it is today, creator Mark Zuckerberg utilized the name Facemash for a site where users could view photos of students side by side and vote on who was most attractive.

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Facebook loses money when the site goes down

Time is money, and every second Facebook is down is time that ads aren’t being served and monetized. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math based on Facebook’s 2014 revenue figures, The Atlantic estimated that the company loses about $24,420 for every minute the site is down.

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It’s impossible to block Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook

It isn’t something special about Mark Zuckerberg, but rather a design decision that prevents users from blocking en masse any one specific user. In turn, big time celebrities or personalities such as Zuckerberg have become impossible to block.

In 2010, Facebook explained: “This error isn't specific to any one account. It's generated when a person has been blocked a certain large number of times. In very rare instances, a viral campaign will develop instructing lots of people to all wrongly block the same person. The purpose of this system is to protect the experience for people targeted by these campaigns. We're constantly working to improve our systems and are taking a closer look at this one.”

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Facebook spends a fortune on hosting

Estimates as to Facebook’s hosting costs suggest that the company spends upwards of $30 million a month just on server capacity that can ably handle the company’s 1.71 billion users who keep uploading photos and videos at an incredibly fast clip.

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Facebook is a photo-sharing machine

We can only imagine what the number is now, but as of 2013, Facebook boasted that more than 350 million photos were being uploaded to the site every single day.

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People love to “Like”

On average, Facebook sees more than 4.5 billion Likes for status updates, photos and videos every day.

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The original Facebook ‘face’ was a digital photo of Al Pacino

Old school Facebook users undoubtedly remember the Facebook “face” that appeared on the site—sort of as an unofficial company logo. Interestingly enough, it turns out the photo was a digitally altered photo of actor Al Pacino.

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31.25 million Facebook messages are sent every minute

More than just a place to passively view photos and statuses, Facebook chat now sees more than 31 million messages being sent every minute.

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More than 41,000 posts are added to Facebook every second

With 41,000 posts being put on Facebook every second, it’s no wonder Facebook has to spend a small fortune on hosting costs.

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There are quite a few fake Facebook accounts

According to Facebook, 8.7 percent of all Facebook accounts are fake, which is to say such accounts are either duplicate accounts or fake accounts.

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Facebook can cause friction between spouses

A widely circulated study on divorce found that nearly one-third of all divorce complaints contain the word “Facebook.” In some instances, a spouse will point to Facebook to prove that the other spouse has been unfaithful. In other instances, a spouse will use Facebook to demonstrate examples of poor parenting.

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The most popular time to browse Facebook is right before bed

Given how ubiquitous smartphones and tablets are these days, it doesn’t come as too much of a shock that Facebook users like to log in from the comfort of their bed every night.

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Only 15% of Facebook users have more than 500 friends

If you have far less than the average 155 friends, there’s no reason to fret. Indeed, only 15 percent of Facebook users have more than 500 friends.

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The average Facebook user checks in on the site 14 times a day

Remember we told you how Facebook users are addicted? Well, not only do they log in to the site very day, but they check the site multiple times throughout the day—14 times a day on average, to be exact.

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Facebook is great for dads

Facebook likes to take care of employees in all regards, even offering new fathers four full months of paternity leave.