It's just a little, clickable icon. But Facebook's "Like" button, with its omnipresent "thumbs up" symbol, has made the company billions of dollars. The story of the button's creation can be traced to a core group of Facebook veterans.
Facebook Director of Engineering Andrew Bosworth posted his version of the button's history onQuora.com in 2010. Bosworth writes that he and a small group of co-workers worked on the project, codenamed “Props.” They debated other ideas including plus/minus signs and star ratings. According to Bosworth’s post, the Like button was originally going to be called the "Awesome" button. Apparently, founder Mark Zuckerberg put the kibosh on that idea.
The idea for the Like button began in 2007, according to Bosworth. There has been some debate over the years over whether Facebook copied the "Like" name from rival site FriendFeed. According to Bosworth, Facebook was working on the concept months before Friendfeed pushed out its own "Like" feature. Facebook unleashed the Like button in February 2009.
Whatever the timing, the success of the button can't be overstated. Rapper Eminem is the most "liked" person on Facebook. As of press time, the Detroit native had more than 52.5 million "likes." Others in his rarefied air include Lady Gaga (47.5 million), Rihanna (50.8 million), and Katy Perry (39 million).
The button itself is clicked millions of times every hour. Facebook doesn't publicly release stats on just how popular the button is, but back in 2010 (which, we admit, is an eon in Web years), 7.6 million pages were "liked" every 20 minutes, according to independent blog Business and Facebook.
According to Facebook's recent S1 IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the site's users "generated an average of 2.7 billion Likes and Comments per day during the three months ended December 31, 2011." Break those numbers down, and it comes out to 112,500,000 Likes and Comments ever hour or about 1,875,000 every minute or, to break it down even further, around 31,250 Likes and Comments every second.
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