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Social media site Facebook is ten years old next Tuesday. Its annual results show its revenues up a massive 63%, driven largely by mobile advertising.

Facebook’s revenues in the last quarter of 2013 were US$2.59 billion, vastly exceeding analysts’ expectations. Annual revenues were US$7.87 billion. The company made US$1.5 billion in profit last year, eight times more than last year, with more than one third of that generated in the last quarter.

Shares rose 16% on the news, giving the company a market capitalisation exceeding US$150 billion (google is worth US$380 billion). Facebook now has 1.23 billion active users, about 20% of the global population.

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg on 4 February 2004. He still owns nearly one third of the company, which makes him worth nearly US$50 billion (Bill Gates is worth about US$75 billion).

Next Tuesday marks Facebook’s tenth anniversary. It went public, in a poorly handled IPO rife with allegations of insider trading, two years ago. The problems associated with the float are now largely forgotten. Money is a great forgiver.

Along with Google, which is only slightly older, Facebook is the face of the 21st century Internet. Its use is ubiquitous – it has defined the term ‘social media’. But it is reviled by many for its invasions of privacy, its marketing practices, and its seemingly unending ability to waste its users’ time on trivial matters.

Happy tenth birthday, Facebook.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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