Facebook Inc.

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Facebook, Inc.

legal form Incorporated
ISIN US30303M1027
founding 2004
Seat Menlo Park , California , United States
United StatesUnited States 
management Mark Zuckerberg , Chairman and CEO
Number of employees 44,942 (December 31, 2019)
sales $ 70.7 billion (2019)
Branch Advertising , social media , virtual reality
Website de.newsroom.fb.com

Facebook Inc. is a US company based in Menlo Park , California . The company owns the social network Facebook , the video and photo sharing app Instagram , the messenger WhatsApp and Oculus VR , the manufacturer of virtual reality hardware. While the company had 2,127 employees in 2010 with sales of USD 1.97 billion and net income of USD 606 million, by 2019 it grew to 44,492 employees with sales of USD 70.7 billion and net income of 18 . $ 49 billion. In January 2019, the company's market value reached $ 582 billion.

Products and services

Facebook offers a variety of services on the web , which are mainly available free of charge due to the financing through advertising. This includes the following services and business areas:

  • Social media
    • Facebook , with a focus on social networking with friends and acquaintances
    • Instagram , a photo and video sharing service

Facebook is also increasingly penetrating the hardware business:



Mark Zuckerberg founded the company together with Eduardo Saverin , Dustin Moskovitz and Christopher Hughes in July 2004 to further develop the social network of the same name, Facebook . The company Facebook Inc. is currently jointly managed by Zuckerberg with Chris Cox (Vice President), Sheryl Sandberg ( Chief Operating Officer ) and Donald E. Graham ( Chairman ).

Pre-market financing

Facebook has raised around $ 1.24 billion in capital in several financing rounds. The first investor was the internet entrepreneur Peter Thiel . The software group Microsoft has also acquired a stake in the company. The Russian investment company Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies) added almost $ 500 million in several steps. In January 2011, according to a previously unconfirmed report by the New York Times , the US investment bank Goldman Sachs also invested around $ 400 million. The money house should also develop a special form of investment through which selected customers can invest in Facebook. This should raise another $ 1.5 billion. Several corporations, including Yahoo and Viacom , attempted to take over Facebook entirely, but the founders turned down all offers.

The IPO was filed on February 1, 2012 and was originally expected to raise up to $ 5 billion. Of the $ 16 billion actually raised, Facebook accounted for $ 6.8 billion and existing shareholders $ 9.2 billion. Zuckerberg raised $ 1.15 billion from the sale of 30.2 million shares.

Financing rounds
date investor total source
2004 Eduardo Saverin $ 19,000
2004 Peter Thiel $ 500,000
2005 Accel Partners (investment company) $ 12.7 million
2006 Consortium led by Greylock Partners (investment company) $ 27.5 million
2007 Microsoft $ 240 million
2007 Li Ka-shing $ 60 million
2009 Mail.ru Group $ 400 million
2011 Goldman Sachs , Mail.ru Group $ 500 million

With the introduction of a new share structure - which secures the previous shareholders more control - the company had prepared for the IPO.

initial public offering

On February 1, 2012, Facebook Inc. applied for listing on the stock exchange.

On May 18, 2012, Facebook went public on NASDAQ . The issue price was $ 38. Income of 16 billion US dollars was achieved, which was the largest IPO of an Internet company at the time. The overall valuation of the company based on the issue price was approximately $ 104 billion.

Although experts had predicted a significant increase in prices, the share lost almost a third of its value within a few weeks and without a trend of improvement, the share price halved to $ 19 in August 2012. The IPO was described as a "fiasco" by the Wall Street Journal . The loss also caused other internet companies to decline.

Still, Facebook was the most successful IPO of any Internet company in 2012. The revenue of 16 billion US dollars represented 88 percent of all income generated by IPOs in the industry.

Acquisitions (selection)

Companies description Headquarters Acquired on Acquired for (in EUR ) Used as / incorporated in credentials
Instagram Online service for sharing photos and videos United StatesUnited States United States , San Francisco

April 9, 2012

760 million -
Whatsapp Instant messaging service United StatesUnited States United States , Mountain View (California)

19th February 2014

16.8 billion -
Oculus VR Manufacturer of virtual reality hardware United StatesUnited States United States , Irvine (California)

March 25, 2014

1.7 billion -
CTRL-labs Research on brain-computer interfaces United StatesUnited States United States , New York City September 2019 between 455 and 910 million Facebook Reality Labs
Beat Games Development studio for VR games, best known for Beat Saber Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic , Prague November 2019 not published Oculus Studio
Jio Platforms telecommunications IndiaIndia India , Mumbai April 22, 2020 5.3 billion 1 WhatsApp Business
Giphy GIF database and search engine United StatesUnited States United States , New York City May 15, 2020 370 million Instagram
1 This is not a complete acquisition, but the acquisition of shares in the amount of 9.99 percent.


Until 2019, the company Facebook Inc. used the same logo as the associated social network Facebook. To make the distinction more visible, different logos for the social network and the parent company were presented on November 4, 2019. The affiliation of services to the parent company should also be made clearer through the addition of "from Facebook" in various logo variants in the applications.


Business figures

Business and employee development (respective fiscal year)
year Sales
in US $ million
Balance sheet profit
in million US $
Price per share
in US $
2007 153 −138
2008 272 −56
2009 777 122
2010 1,974 372
2011 3.711 668
2012 5,089 32 4,619
2013 7,872 1,491 35.48 6.337
2014 12,466 2,925 68.76 9,199
2015 17,928 3,669 88.77 12,691
2016 27,638 10,188 117.04 17,048
2017 40,653 15,920 156.57 25.105
2018 55,838 22,111 171.51 35,587
2019 69,655 18,485 205.25 44,492

Business model

Facebook is free for members to use. The advertising business in particular should bring in income. In the United States, the company has the largest share of the banner advertising market (as of November 2010). In December 2010 it was announced that Facebook would like to integrate new e-commerce offers into its service. This social shopping marketplace is intended to be an alternative to classic online shopping , but it is also intended to attract new members and generate higher advertising income.

Ownership structure

The press gives different information about the exact composition of the main shareholders and their shares in the company. The Schweizer Handelszeitung published the following shareholder structure on May 14, 2012: Mark Zuckerberg (28.2%), Accel Partners (10%), Dustin Moskovitz (7.6%), Mail.ru Group (5.4%), Eduardo Saverin (4%), Sean Parker (4%), Peter Thiel (2.5%), Sheryl Sandberg (1.8%), Microsoft (1.5%), Greylock Partners (1.5%), Cameron Winklevoss ( 0.22%) and Tyler Winklevoss (0.22%). The website whoownsfacebook.com has largely the same values ​​for the main shareholders, but includes other shareholders with shares well below 0.1% in the company in its list. The Winklevoss twins, who led a legal dispute with Zuckerberg over the authorship of Facebook, are listed here with 0.22% each.

In 2018, the Vanguard Group (7.10%), BlackRock (6.10%) and Fidelity Investments (5.10%) held shares in Facebook. In 2020, the Vanguard Group (7.30%) and BlackRock (6.30%) held shares in Facebook.


Facebook Ireland Limited

Presumably for tax reasons, Facebook has set up a subsidiary in Dublin ( Ireland ). According to the terms and conditions of Facebook, all users outside the USA and Canada have a contract with this company, not with Facebook Inc. in the USA. This means that outside of the USA and Canada, Facebook falls under the laws of Ireland and thus the EU. This was used in 2011 by a group of Austrian students to report Facebook for breaching European data protection laws. The German domain facebook.de is registered with the Irish company at Denic .

In November 2017, Facebook was listed in the Paradise Papers publications .

Subsidiary in Germany

Since October 1, 2009, the group has had a subsidiary in Hamburg at the address Facebook Germany GmbH, Caffamacherreihe 7, Brahmsquartier, 20355 Hamburg. The Facebook Germany GmbH is loud Federal Gazette currently represented by its directors Susan Taylor, Shane Crehan and David William Kling.

The Hamburg public prosecutor's office investigated current and former managing directors of Facebook Germany GmbH on suspicion of aiding and abetting people. However, the criminal complaint remained without consequences. The complaint was filed by the IT specialist lawyer Chan-jo Jun from Würzburg after Jun had personally delivered over 60 cases of critical comments and postings to the managing directors and yet no deletion took place. The Hamburg public prosecutor's office decided that, given Facebook's branched corporate structure, German law was not applicable. Jun then submitted the lawsuit to the public prosecutor in Munich.

Facebook's national subsidiaries are primarily responsible for marketing advertising. In previous legal proceedings against Facebook, any responsibility for the platform itself has been disputed. Facebook Germany GmbH refers you to Facebook Ireland Ltd. for content-related complaints.

In Berlin, the group operates a Public Policy Office, which is responsible for Facebook's political communication in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Political scientist Eva-Maria Kirschsieper is Head of Public Policy.

Subsidiary in Switzerland

In Switzerland, Facebook Switzerland Sàrl , based in Vernier, was entered in the commercial register of the Canton of Geneva on July 2, 2013 . The branch in Zurich went into operation in 2016.

Criticism of Facebook



The concept of Facebook has found some imitators like StudiVZ and who-knows-whom . The competitor StudiVZ, which is widespread in German-speaking countries, was criticized for being a replica of Facebook that went down to the details of function, structure and appearance. On July 19, 2008, Facebook filed a lawsuit against the operators of the StudiVZ in the US District Court in San José, California , alleging theft of intellectual property . However, Facebook failed with this lawsuit. In September 2009, both companies announced that they had reached an agreement and StudiVZ would pay a sum of money to Facebook.

ConnectU (Winklevoss)

The classmates of Zuckerberg at Harvard University , the twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss , accused Zuckerberg that he them the idea for their online network ConnectU had stolen ( "Networked you"). The brothers and a friend entrusted Zuckerberg with the further development of their program in 2003, but Zuckerberg did not stick to the contract, but started his own network with Facebook in February 2004. This representation is rejected by Facebook.

In 2008, after reaching an agreement with the Winklevoss brothers, Zuckerberg paid $ 65 million, including $ 20 million in cash and Facebook shares worth $ 45 million at the time. Later, the Winklevoss wanted to reverse the comparison: They gave the reason that the other side had deceived them about the true value of Facebook and left them too little money and shares. The San Francisco Court of Appeals dismissed this view in 2011, finding that the twins had negotiated an "advantageous" deal at the time. The brothers protested the verdict. In June 2011, the twins accepted the original settlement and ended their legal efforts.

Grant Raphael

On July 24, 2008, a court in London sentenced Grant Raphael to pay £ 22,000 on charges of personality violations and false charges. Raphael had created a fake Facebook page about a former classmate and business partner. On her, Raphael claimed under his name that he was homosexual and untrustworthy.

Ads against Facebook Europe

In mid-August 2011, a group of Facebook users around the Austrian law student Maximilian "Max" Schrems brought 16 reports against Facebook Ireland Ltd. to the Irish data protection authority (Office of the Data Protection Commissioner ) . a. All users outside the United States and Canada have an exclusive contract with Facebook Ireland Ltd. , the European subsidiary of Facebook. The student group believes that the Irish authority is responsible for enforcing the privacy and consumer rights of Facebook users in the European Union . The group justifies this with the fact that, due to the company's headquarters in Dublin, European data protection law must be applied and, in addition to the Irish Data Protection Act, invokes the EU data protection directive 95/46 / EC of 1995 .

On August 24, 2011, the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland (DPC) sent the complainants a letter stating that the Irish authorities would accept jurisdiction and initiate an investigation. On September 4, the Irish daily Irish Independent reported, citing the DPC , that the agency will investigate extensively beyond the content of the 16 advertisements. As the strictest form under Irish data protection law, an investigation is to take place in the Facebook European headquarters in Dublin. This was confirmed by the spokesperson of the Irish data protection authority at the request of ORF.at confirmed.

Consumer advice centers against Facebook

On March 6, 2012, the Berlin Regional Court ruled that numerous clauses in Facebook's terms and conditions are ineffective. Accordingly, Facebook may not allow itself to be granted a comprehensive worldwide and free right to use content that Facebook members have set in their profile in its general terms and conditions. Facebook may only use works protected by copyright with the consent of Facebook members. In the opinion of the Berlin Regional Court, the declaration of consent with which the Facebook members consent to data processing for advertising purposes is also illegal. In addition, Facebook must ensure that changes to the terms of use and data protection regulations are informed in good time. After all, the friend finder button violates German law. In particular, the court prohibited the import of addresses from the user's address file into the Facebook database, which was triggered with this button. In August 2012, the consumer association Bundesverband e. V. A warning to Facebook to force changes to the app center. The consumer advocates see Facebook's access to personal contacts of users as a violation of the Telemedia Act.


Social networks often offer companies the opportunity to present themselves. The company presences are regularly subject to the same legal requirements as other commercial websites. The Aschaffenburg Regional Court now had to deal with the question of whether a commercial provider who presents his company on Facebook is obliged to post a complete and transparent imprint there too. The court affirmed this and assumed a violation of § 5 Abs. 1 TMG in connection with §§ 3, 4 No. 11 UWG.

Mental stress of content reviewers

Before content (videos, photos) appears on the Facebook platform on the Internet, it must be checked whether it contains, for example, inappropriate violence, pornography, politically unacceptable content or the like. All videos and pictures that are uploaded to Facebook are automatically checked for such content by algorithms. Since these algorithms cannot reliably identify all problematic content, the final inspection must be carried out by humans, so-called content reviewers (officially content moderators ). These content reviewers sit in front of the screen all day, looking at one video or photo at a time - including those that users report as unsuitable - and then decide whether to delete it. Mostly people are employed in low-wage countries for this work. In 2018, the German documentary film Im Schatten der Netzwelt also caused a stir internationally. Here the work of such content checkers in the Philippines was accompanied. Some of the interviewees reported that they had to watch the most disturbing videos of violence, such as hundreds of beheadings or the most serious child pornography and child abuse. The documentary stated that the content reviewers who “did the dirty work for all of us” received virtually no psychological support in their work.

As a result, content reviewers who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their work for Facebook in the USA sued the company for compensation in autumn 2018. In May 2020, Facebook and plaintiffs agreed to reimburse treatment costs of up to $ 50,000 per case. The legal process is still ongoing. Some of the auditors are employed by service companies.


  • Scott Galloway: The Four. The secret DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Plassen, Kulmbach 2018, ISBN 978-3-86470-487-1 . (American original edition: The Four. The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Portfolio / Penguin, New York 2017, ISBN 978-0-73521-365-4 )
  • Steven Levy: Facebook - world power on the brink. Droemer HC, New York 2020, ISBN 978-3-426-27728-7

Web links

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 37 ° 29 '5 "  N , 122 ° 8' 54"  W.