Facebook is the most widely used social media network in the world. With more than 2.89 billion active monthly users, its popularity far outranks TikTok, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
The social media platform has a long history. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, started a website back in 2003 which allowed students at Harvard (where he was studying) to rate the attractiveness of other students – sort of like “Hot or Not.”
That website, while being the precursor to Facebook, didn’t last long. Mark Zuckerberg was forced to close it by the administration at Harvard.
He later started a private Facebook for Harvard students, called TheFacebook. He was then sued by Harvard, but more on that later.
Now, Facebook is used by people all over the world, regardless of region.
If you’ve been curious about how Facebook’s logo has changed over time, read on. Today, I will be giving you the complete timeline of the Facebook logo and how it has evolved since Facebook’s founding.
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- Facebook: Logo vs Icon
- Facebook Logo History and Timeline
- Facebook Lite Logo
- Facebook Messenger Logo and Timeline
- Facebook Like Button Icon
- Meta Logo History and Timeline
- When Will Facebook Change Its Logo and Icon Again?
- Interesting Facts About Facebook
- Wrapping It Up
There are two types of logos I will be exploring here. The first is the actual logo, which features the word “Facebook” and is pretty simple overall.
The second is the app icon, which has also changed over time. The app icon features only an “f,” but the design has kept changing, as old-time Facebook users will know.
Finally, there is the Facebook Messenger icon, which has also changed significantly over the years. However, I will make a separate timeline for that, despite it being an integral part of Facebook.
Facebook now owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook and Instagram have many integrated features.
I will, therefore, also slightly touch upon the histories of the Instagram and WhatsApp logos and icons.
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In 2003, Mark Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University. He started a website called Facemash, which contained images of different Harvard students and allowed users to compare their attractiveness.
You can see a clone of the old Facemash here.
It was sort of like the dating website known as Hot or Not (now called Chat & Date). As per the name, the app “mashed” different faces together so users could select the most attractive one.
Zuckerberg hacked into the intranets of Harvard to collect those photos.
According to statements Mark Zuckerberg gave Congress, Facemash had nothing to do with Facebook and its development and was an entirely separate website. In fact, Zuckerberg claimed that it was a prank website.
Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that Facemash did not provide any inspiration for Facebook and its development.
In any case, at that point, the Facemash logo was simply the word “Facemash” in Arial Bold font, in white uppercase letters on a red background.
Facemash didn’t last more than a few days, though, as Harvard University shut it down. They even charged Zuckerberg with violating the privacy of students and with copyright violations, and they were thinking of expelling him; they later dropped the charges.
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In 2004, Zuckerberg started a website called TheFacebook. At the time, Harvard had different “face books,” which were basically student directories and had no correlation with the actual modern-day Facebook.
At first, TheFacebook was limited to Harvard students. It was supposed to replace the outdated paper student directories that Harvard had.
However, Harvard sued Zuckerberg, claiming that he misled them into thinking he was going to make a social network for Harvard students called HarvardConnection.com when he was really creating a competing network.
Harvard later settled with Zuckerberg for 1.2 million shares of Facebook.
In any case, at the time, it was called TheFacebook, and the logo reflected that. It was simply [ thefacebook ] in lowercase light-blue letters on a dark-blue background, in Tahoma Bold font.
TheFacebook didn’t retain its name for long, though. In 2005, Mark Zuckerberg dropped “the” from the name, leaving it as just “Facebook.”
In 2005, TheFacebook was renamed as Facebook. In 2006, Facebook opened to the public, allowing anyone over 13 years of age to open an account.
With the new name, Facebook’s logo changed as well. The new logo was the word “facebook” in all lowercase letters, in Klavika bold font – white letters on a blue background.
You may still see this logo in some places, as Facebook has marginally retained its usage instead of discarding it entirely.
As for the icon? It was a white lowercase “f” in a blue box with rounded corners.
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In 2009, Facebook continued using the same logo. However, the app icon changed slightly.
It was now an “f’” in a slightly different font, but it was still a lowercase f on a blue background. However, Facebook introduced a faint white line under the “f.”
In 2012, Facebook revised its icon slightly. There was still a faint white line under the f, but the corners were more rounded than before, and the f was placed a bit more to the left.
This icon didn’t last long, though, as Facebook changed it again the following year.
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In 2013, Facebook revised its icon, dropping the faint white line from under the “f” entirely. It was still a lowercase white “f” on a blue background, but the blue background was a uniform shade of blue, with no gradient colors or lines.
For many Facebook users, this is the app icon they saw when first introduced to Facebook. Facebook only changed the icon in 2020, but the old icon is still sometimes used.
In 2015, Facebook continued using the same icon, but it changed its logo. The new logo was still the word “facebook” in all lowercase white letters on a blue background.
However, Facebook used a new custom font for this one.
In 2019, Facebook made some significant updates to both its icon and the logo. The new icon was inverted – blue letters on a white background.
It was still all lowercase letters with a custom font.
As for the icon, Facebook finally ditched the dark blue background. Instead, the new background was a lighter blue, and it was sometimes a circle instead of a square with a lowercase white “f” in the middle.
You may still see the dark blue icon in some places. The new icon did not totally replace the old icon.
You may also see it as a dark blue circle instead of a light blue one.
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There is another app, called Facebook Lite. It’s an official app from the Facebook team that is a lot smaller in size than the regular app, so people with slow phones often use it.
It also uses fewer resources, so it won’t slow down your phone as much as the main Facebook app.
The Facebook Lite icon is like an inverted Facebook icon. It’s a blue “f” on a white background.
The “f” is lowercase, and the square is white. That’s to differentiate the Facebook Lite app from the main Facebook app.
Like Facebook, the Facebook Messenger icon has changed a lot over time. Here’s a quick overview.
Facebook Messenger started out as Facebook Chat in 2008.
There was no Facebook Messenger app icon at that point, since Facebook Chat was part of Facebook and not yet a standalone app.
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In 2011, Facebook Messenger came out as its own app. The original app icon was a dark blue box with a white bolt inside.
It was slightly different for Android and iOS, though.
In 2013, Facebook came out with the Facebook Messenger app icon that many users are most familiar with. It was a light blue bubble with a white bolt inside.
You can see an example of this version of the Facebook Messenger app icon above.
In 2018, Facebook revised the Facebook Messenger icon – but only slightly. It was still a white bolt in a light blue chat bubble, but the bolt was a little less sharp around the edges.
You can see the revised version of the blue bubble Facebook Messenger icon above.
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In 2020, Facebook completely redesigned the Facebook Messenger icon. Instead of keeping it as a blue chat bubble, Facebook spiced things up a little by adding some purple into the mix.
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Like Facebook in general, the Facebook Like button also evolved a lot over time.
Facebook first developed the Awesome button in 2007, but it wasn’t released until 2009, two years later. Facebook then decided to name it the Like button instead of the Awesome button.
Facebook wasn’t even settled on using a thumbs-up icon. Instead, the developers toyed with using a star button or even a plus/minus button.
However, in the end, Facebook decided to use the thumbs-up button. Still, the icon has gone through many changes over time.
Above, you can see one old version of the Like button.
Facebook later added other reaction buttons, including the heart button, angry react button, sad emoji button, and more. It also changed the like button – here is how the different action buttons might look:
In late 2021, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta. While the Facebook app is still called Facebook, the company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, is now called Meta.
According to Facebook, it rebranded itself as Meta as it works towards creating the Metaverse, a digital world that integrates all of the company’s platforms and apps.
Facebook is building the next evolution of digital connection, according to the Meta website. To reach that end, Meta is going beyond simple social media platforms and incorporating technology like virtual and augmented reality.
You can see the Meta logo above. Since Meta is relatively new, its logo hasn’t yet gone through many changes like the Facebook logo did.
However, as time goes on, Meta might update its logo.
However, the Meta logo is not without controversy.
A Swiss company called Dfinity has sued Meta Platforms (the official name of the Facebook company) for using a logo that it claims has been copied from them.
Dfinity runs a public blockchain network. The two logos look very much alike, as both feature an Infinity logo.
It is called an Infinity logo because it never ends – it is like a circle that goes round and round.
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While the Dfinity logo is a little more stretched out than the Meta logo, which looks a bit more like an M, both of them are very similar. Dfinity claimed that Facebook’s “sordid” history would ruin its reputation, as people will start associating the logo with Facebook.
When referring to Facebook’s sordid history, it was probably referring to the various controversies Facebook has found itself in, particularly regarding data privacy.
The Meta logo also looks very similar to the logo of the M-sense app, which is an app that helps people deal with migraines. In my opinion, the M-sense logo – which features a white infinity icon – looks a lot more like the Meta logo than the Dfinity logo.
M-sense is based in Berlin, and it tweeted sarcastically that it was honored that Facebook copied its logo but hoped Facebook would take inspiration from its data privacy laws as well.
It’s not just the logo, though. The very name Meta was apparently stolen from a company with the same name based in Chicago.
According to that company, Facebook’s lawyers tried very hard to get them to sell the name to Facebook. When the company did not agree, Facebook went ahead and used the name anyway, hoping to bury the original Meta Company with a massive media campaign promoting itself as the original Meta.
Meta – the original company – ended up suing Facebook for that.
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It’s not yet clear when Facebook will change its logo or icon or the Facebook Messenger logo. The last major update was just a few years ago, and even that update wasn’t huge – the overall design of the logo remained pretty similar.
As Facebook advances towards the Metaverse, it’s possible that it will update the Facebook logo as well.
Facebook, as you already know, was started by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 as a private online student directory for Harvard students. However, its origins started a bit earlier as a “Hot or Not” copycat website that allowed Harvard students to rate and compare the attractiveness of two users.
While we’ve covered the Facebook logo extensively, let’s learn a bit more about Facebook’s history and cover some fun facts about the company that might interest you.
I mentioned that Facebook is the most widely used social media network in the world. However, its popularity varies by country and age.
People between the ages of 18-34 use Facebook the most, although it’s more popular among people who are between 25-34 years of age. Among younger millennials, other apps, like TikTok and Snapchat, have become more popular.
While the United States has a lot of Facebook users, it doesn’t have the highest number of users in the world – that award goes to India. However, the United States comes in as second, with almost 180 million users.
The other countries which have the most Facebook users include:
- The Philippines
In addition to being the most popular social media network in the world, Facebook is also one of the world’s most valuable brands. With a value of over 100 billion dollars, Facebook only lags behind Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, and Samsung.
That means that Facebook is more valuable than Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, TikTok, and even the Agricultural Bank of China and China Construction Bank!
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Instagram is also one of the most well-known social platforms. It actually started out as Burbn, which was a mobile check-in app.
However, since it was very similar to Foursquare, the founders decided to rename it as Instagram and focus more on the photo sharing aspects of the app.
The iOS version was released in 2010, while the Android version was released in 2012. In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram.
That is why Facebook and Instagram are integrated in many ways. For example, you can share your Instagram stories to your Facebook stories and see your Facebook story viewers in the Instagram app.
Similarly, you can sync your Instagram and Facebook profile details.
Instagram’s logo and icon have also gone through many changes over the years. Although it started out as “Instagram” in black letters in the Billabong font, it now features the word “Instagram” in a custom font that Instagram has called Instagram Sans Headline.
As for the icon, you may remember the old icon, which featured a Polaroid camera, although that itself had several versions. Instagram later changed to the current icon; although many users didn’t like it at first, it is now the only icon most users associate it with.
WhatsApp was founded in 2009. What many people don’t know is that the famous messaging and calling app wasn’t even intended to be a messaging app!
WhatsApp was designed to give people status updates about the people in their contact books. For example, you’d be able to see that your buddy Henry had a low battery and that your friend Alicia was at the gym.
People would be able to use WhatsApp to update their friends about their availability and more.
However, after Apple launched push notifications in 2009, allowing users to receive notifications from an app at any time (even when not using the app), WhatsApp kind of morphed automatically into a messaging service that people would use to send messages to their contacts.
WhatsApp just ran with that.
Many people also don’t know that WhatsApp wasn’t always free. There used to be a $1/year subscription fee to cover the cost of text messages.
However, that fee was removed in 2016, and WhatsApp is now a completely free service, with no ads. At the same time, some people say that WhatsApp’s privacy and data protection laws need a lot of improvement, preferring privacy-friendly apps like Signal instead.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. At first, it promised that it would keep user data separate.
However, the EU ended up fining Facebook €110 million for breaching those promises. According to the EU commission, Facebook actually used WhatsApp numbers and other data for the Facebook ad algorithms (Facebook claimed it was unintentional).
The cool thing about WhatsApp is that its logo did not change over the years. It still features a white chat bubble with a white telephone in the middle on a green background, which all of you WhatsApp users will be familiar with.
WhatsApp Business has a very similar logo, but with a white B in the middle instead of a telephone icon. WhatsApp Business is a separate app designed for business owners with phone numbers that are separate from their personal ones – it is also entirely free to use.
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I hope this article has been enlightening to you. Facebook has changed a lot over time, both in terms of how the logo looks and how the app itself looks.
It has also added a lot of features, like Facebook Messenger and the reaction buttons, and it has bought other companies, like Instagram and WhatsApp, making it one of the largest companies in the world.
Despite its humble beginnings, Facebook remains one of the most well-known companies in the world.
Ben Levin is a Hubspot certified content marketing professional and SEO expert with 6 years of experience and a strong passion for writing and blogging. His areas of specialty include personal finance, tech, and marketing. He loves exploring new topics and has also written about HVAC repair to dog food recommendations. Ben is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in computer science, and his hobbies include motorcycling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai.