Facebook denies rumors that it hopes to sell for $2 billion

Facebook officials are denying a report that appeared in a BusinessWeek story last month saying that the Web site is for sale with an asking price of $2 billion.

The story, citing “senior industry executives familiar with the matter,” reported that Facebook rejected a $750 million bid and is holding out for the $1 billion offer. Facebook denied that the site is up for sale.

“(The story) was based on nothing but speculation and rumor,” said Chris Hughes, Facebook spokesperson and Harvard senior, in an e-mail to The Hatchet.

Last year, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. paid $580 million for MySpace, another social networking site. MySpace is the second-most-trafficked site on the Internet, while Facebook is ranked seventh, according to market researcher comScore Media Metrix.

Facebook was launched two years ago by a group of sophomores at Harvard University, led by Mark Zuckerberg. It was originally founded as a way for Harvard students to communicate with one another, but since then has spread to 2,100 colleges in the United States and other parts of the world.

After high school students were invited to join Facebook last fall, the number of user accounts jumped to more than 7 million. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Facebook grew by 530 percent between November 2004 and November 2005.

“A factor in the site’s growth is that Facebook spills over into ‘real’ life all the time,” Hughes said. “There are the obvious ways – parties and groups are organized more efficiently, people are able to discover interests they share in common with acquaintances or friends, people are able to see more details about girls or guys they find cute.”

Some students worry that if Facebook is sold to a larger company, it would become littered with more advertisements and would work less efficiently than it does now.

“There aren’t many ads on it now,” junior Kathryn May said. “They would probably change it and make it a lot more inconvenient.”

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