A decade after Facebook’s launch on Feb. 4, 2004, the social network that started exclusively for Harvard students is now connecting millions of people around the world.
From an infinite exchange of statuses, posts, likes and comments came astounding personal stories. To celebrate its decade on the Web, Facebook shared some of these tales, which grew from simple anecdotes into viral wonders that captured the world’s attention.
Here are 10 revelatory moments made possible by Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild.
1. Twins Reunited
Anaïs and Samantha were born together in Busan, South Korea, and then put into separate foster homes. These twin sisters were unaware of each other’s existence until a friend of Anaïs’s posted a picture of Samantha on her Facebook, remarking on their similarities. After unraveling their story through the social network, the sisters are now making a film about their experience.
2. An Artist Collaborates with Craftswomen in Kenya
New Jersey resident Andrea Mihalik has made a living crafting unique furniture for her Philadelphia-based business by adding mixed material to vintage pieces. A trip to a small village in Kenya inspired her to incorporate the villagers’ beadwork into her furniture. Through Facebook messages, Mihalik was able to commission work from her new friends in Africa from thousands of miles away.
3. Poverty to Celebrated Poet
After 35 years of living in the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho had lost hope of becoming a published poet, but continued to write about his struggles. A young woman named Shalla Monteiro befriended the man, put his work on Facebook and changed Sobrinho’s life.
4. Showing New York’s Softer Side
As an amateur photographer, Brandon moved to New York in 2010 and started a near impossible project: putting a face to the metropolis’ millions of residents. Now his Facebook page “Humans of New York” is a viral success and proof that everyone you pass has a story to tell.
5. Keeping a Language Alive
San Juan La Laguna is a tiny village in Guatemala accessible only by one road. As the only place in town with free Internet access, the village’s library is using its resources to promote literacy and the Mayan language through Facebook.
6. The Long-Distance Relationship Redefined
William Stacey and Kimberly Kirkwood’s relationship knew no bounds. The couple managed to make their relationship work through multiple relocations and Stacey’s military deployments. When satellite phones failed and time differences were tricky, Facebook was always there to keep the couple connected, even after Stacey’s passing.
7. Business Without Boundaries
Facebook ads help businesses of all sizes reach users around the world. An ideal tool for charities like Sevenly, which one Canadian teen used to donate to a boy in the Congo in need of reconstructive surgery.
8. A Rock Band Gets Their Encore
Before the days of Facebook, Swedish hair metal band Eyes found a smattering of success, but was unable to get a record deal. The members moved on, but they were not forgotten. A Facebook group reminiscing about Eyes found the members and convinced them to come together for one last show.
9. Rainbow Road to Acceptance
The removal of a rainbow crossing to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras led one Australian to create his own chalk rainbow. Meant as a gesture for his friends on Facebook, James Brechney’s rainbow took off and became a movement throughout the country.
10. Support for Second Chances
Determined to turn his life around after 15 years in prison, Patric McGuinness began working with at risk kids and studying for The Knowledge, the extensive training exam all London cab drivers need to pass to become certified. McGuinness found the study help and encouragement he needed among the Facebook groups of other folks preparing to conquer the test.