November 2011: Facebook agrees to settle federal charges that it violated users' privacy by getting people to share more information than they agreed to when they signed up to the site. As part of a settlement, Facebook will allow independent auditors to review its privacy practices for two years. It also agrees to get approval from users before changing how the company handles their data.
December 2011: Facebook completes its move to Menlo Park, Calif. Its address is 1 Hacker Way.
January 2012: Facebook begins making Timeline mandatory.
February 2012: Facebook files for an initial public offering of stock. A few weeks later, it unveils new advertising opportunities for brands, allowing messages from them to mix in with Facebook status updates and photos.
April 2012: Facebook announces plans to buy Instagram, a photo-sharing social network, for $1 billion in cash and stock. It also discloses it plans to list its stock on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "FB."
May 2012: Facebook sets a price range of $28 to $35 for its IPO, then increases it to $34 to $38. On May 17, Facebook prices its IPO at $38 per share, and the stock begins trading the next day. The following week, the stock price starts dropping amid concerns about Facebook's ability to keep growing revenue and sell ads on mobile devices.
That month, Facebook also updates its policy to give users more clarity on how information they share is used by the company. The company also signals that it may start showing people ads on websites other than Facebook. Other companies already do this. How would that work? Users who click on an ad on Facebook.com could see the advertised product pop up in ads on other sites.
August 2012: Facebook updates its app for iPhones and iPads to make it speedier and less clunky. Government clears Facebook's Instagram deal.
September 2012: Facebook closes on Instagram deal, whose value has dropped to about $740 million, with Facebook's falling stock price. Unlike many other acquisitions, Facebook has promised to keep it going, rather than shut it down. Facebook plans to use Instagram's dozen or so employees to help improve Facebook's own mobile applications.
October 2012: Facebook says it has 1 billion active users.
December 2012: Facebook rolls out a messaging app called "Poke" to lukewarm reviews.
January 2013: Facebook unveils a search feature that lets users quickly sift through their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places. It's initially rolled out to a tiny percentage of users.