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How Does Facebook Work?

How Does Facebook Work?

By now, almost everyone with a computer and an Internet connection is on Facebook. There are still a few handful left who aren't, and they all must be wondering what exactly happens over there. Find out how do you get into the biggest social networking site in the world - Facebook, how it works, and what you can do once you're in.
Techspirited Staff
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2018
By giving people the power to share, we're making the world more transparent.
- Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
Unlike other social networking websites, it may be difficult to find people with the same kind of interests as you have. But Facebook is indeed, one of the best networks to get in touch with long-lost friends. The original intention of Facebook was to connect college students with each other, and let them stay in touch. However, the website became so popular that today, anyone from any part of the world can join it. You can use this website to chat with your friends, date people, share pictures, spread any topic of interest, and meet new people. Now that you have got a brief idea, let's take a look at how to get started.
Starting Up on Facebook
Facebook started out a virtual space created by Harvard freshman Mark Zuckerberg as just something to help his friends communicate with each other.

On Facebook, you are able to create a homepage of your own and network with millions of users all around the world. Once you become a member, you are permitted to send an invitation to friends and relatives to join your network. Once they have accepted your invitation, you can suggest the names of people in your network to your newly added friends. Whenever you visit your homepage, you can change and update your current status, and share whatever you are doing with your friends. The best part is that your friends would be able to see whatever you feel, and write to you the next time they log in. Moreover, they can write a comment and send a private message on what they feel about your update. Besides this, you can share website links and videos, and take a look at the links, videos, and photos which your friend have posted. These can be seen only by your selected group of friends. What's more, you could create a group where people who share the same interests can join in, and have discussions.
Signing Up for Facebook
More than 60% of the total Facebook users are older than 35 years.

The first step to be a part of this mammoth social networking website is to sign up. You just need to sign in your details like your name, birthday, gender, and your email address. The email address is not published, and for security reasons, can only be used to forward any messages which other people may have sent you. Once you have filled all the information, click on the sign-up icon. A security code appears (captcha code used to prevent spamming software) which you have to enter in order to confirm your signing up. You will then get a confirmation of your account in the email address you have provided.
How to Start Connecting With People

Facebook currently has more than a billion users, half of which log in at least once a day.

When you get the confirmation link that is sent to your email address, you need to click on it, and once you do that, you'll be directed to the 'Getting Started' page. Facebook will immediately use the info that you gave it, ranging from your school and/or college, your location, and if you've been invited to join by someone you know, relevant contacts from their friends list.
Facebook has been programmed to ask whether you want it to search your email's contact list. If you opt to go ahead and allow Facebook to search for people, it would search for those people who are your email contacts, and will check if they are on Facebook. If there is anyone on Facebook who is also there in your email list, the website would suggest you those names. You can opt to add them in the list of your friends, and have the freedom to not include anyone you don't wish to.
Start Networking

If you know friends from your school or your colleagues who are already on Facebook, you can add them by first searching for them and then sending an invitation. They need to accept your invite and once accepted you can start networking with them by sending messages, pictures, videos, etc. Moreover, it gives you the option to add or ignore a person from being your friend. Once these steps are done, it means you have successfully created a Facebook profile, and are ready to keep in touch with your friends.
Keep Updating

Once you have created a profile, you can choose to keep it updated so that people know what you have been up to. You can add photos (one profile picture and then multiple albums/photos of anything that you want to show) and share information which you want. You can also set preferences to as much or as little information you want to share with people who are not in your list of friends.
The Intrinsic Workings of Facebook

Now that we know how Facebook works for us, here's what actually happens. A little behind the scenes look at the back-end to front-end working of the biggest social networking site on Earth.
To be concise, Facebook uses the all-powerful LAMP stack, a simple, open source, and fast scaling stack that allows Facebook to do what it does. LAMP basically stands for:
  • Linux
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP
What this means is that Facebook uses a stack, that acts as the entire front-end, which communicates with the back-end (Facebook Headquarters) and the user to give you what you want. You can draw parallels to any normal server like so:
Linux is the computer system kernel that forms the operating system. Linux is preferred because it is faster, free (open source), and highly secure (almost impervious to hacking attempts).
Apache is the FTTP server that Facebook uses Linux on.
MySQL is the database language. Facebook uses MySQL to segregate data according to where on Earth it's coming from. This helps in keeping location based information smooth and efficient.
PHP becomes the web programming language, on which the front-end of the site is built. Whatever parts of Facebook you see on your computer, are all made using PHP.
Finally, Memcached becomes the RAM for Facebook. With truckloads of data transactions happening between users every second, they need something that will temporarily store data. Using Memcached makes the workload much lighter on Facebook's front-end. All in all, everything that Facebook uses is free and open sourced. Wikipedia is another website that uses the LAMP stack.
The back-end of Facebook uses a very simple need-based frame development procedure to create something only when it's needed. For instance, if you were to create a new group, it would be created instantly because of the fast need-based programming. For its back-end, Facebook uses Thrift as its protocol, Cassandra as the database management system, and Scribe as its data log server.
So, with Facebook, you can connect with your friends, family, and acquaintances. You have the freedom to choose or ignore any person you want. Once you know how to do this, you can enjoy and have a lot of fun out there. You can also play a few games, such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, Crazy Taxi, and many more. So go ahead and try it, chances are you'll enjoy it soon enough.