Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Facebook


After years of being a tightly controlled private company, Facebook is expected to file its Initial Public Offering this week and open itself up to investors on the stock market.

As part of that filing, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to potential investors about the company's mission. And though parts of it are a little wishy-washy—as mission statements tend to be—it reveals much about the way the company does business.

Section headings include: "We hope to strengthen how people relate to each other," "We hope to change how people relate to their governments and social institutions," and "The hacker way."

Here are some excerpts:

Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected.

By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph—a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done. Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

The filing also includes data on the company. Here's a fun fact: Though Zuckerberg's net worth—estimated at $17.5 billion—dwarfs Mitt Romney's $200 million fortune, Zuck's base salary is a paltry $500,000 a year, compared to Romney's approximate 2010 income of $20 million.

The complete letter, along with the data required to be filed about the company, can be read here.