WTF Fun Fact 13684 – Mark Zuckerberg Tried to Sell Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, the brain behind Facebook, once tried to sell the platform. Yes, the social media giant that’s now a staple in over 2 billion people’s daily lives was almost handed over to another company before it could spread its wings. Let’s unpack this fascinating slice of history.

The Offer on the Table to Sell Facebook

Back in the early days of Facebook, or “TheFacebook” as it was originally called, Zuckerberg and his co-founders created a buzz on college campuses. It was this buzz that caught the attention of several investors and companies. Among them was Friendster, a once-popular social networking site, which actually made an offer to buy Facebook. The figure tossed around? A cool $10 million.

Reports from ZDNet reveal that in July 2004, Zuckerberg was indeed open to selling Facebook.

Zuckerberg’s Vision

What’s even more interesting is Zuckerberg’s decision to decline all offers. At the time, Facebook was just a fledgling site, far from the global platform it is today. Yet, Zuckerberg saw the potential for something much larger than a college network. He believed in the idea of connecting people in ways that hadn’t been done before.

Selling to Friendster, or any other suitor for that matter, didn’t align with his vision for what Facebook could become.

The Road Not Taken to Sell Facebook

Zuckerberg’s choice to keep Facebook independent was a pivotal moment in the company’s history. It set the stage for Facebook to grow, innovate, and eventually become the social media behemoth we know today. This decision wasn’t just about holding onto a company; it was about believing in the potential of an idea and the impact it could have on the world.

Looking back, it’s clear Zuckerberg’s gamble paid off. Facebook went on to redefine social interaction, media consumption, and digital marketing. It’s interesting to ponder what Facebook might have become had it merged with Friendster. Would it have faded into obscurity, or could it have still risen to the top under different stewardship?

Reflections on a Tech Titan’s Journey

Zuckerberg’s early move to keep Facebook sets a precedent in the tech world about the value of vision over immediate gain. It’s a reminder that in the fast-paced world of startups, sometimes the biggest risk is not taking one at all. Zuckerberg’s faith in his project’s potential is a testament to the power of innovation and persistence.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Mark Zuckerberg was planning to sell Facebook in July 2004” — ZDNet

WTF Fun Fact 13487 – Happy Couples Post Less on Social Media

We’re all familiar with that couple who constantly posts pictures of their romantic getaways, perfect dinners, and seemingly idyllic moments – but a study showed that happy couples post less on social media.

It appears that couples who frequently share selfies and other relationship-related content on social media platforms aren’t living quite the life they claim to be. Go figure.

The Study and Its Findings

An online photography platform, Shotkit, conducted an intriguing study involving over 2,000 individuals aged between 18 to 50. The participants were asked to rate their relationship’s overall happiness, intimacy, communication, and trust. They were also asked about their frequency of sharing relationship-related content on social media.

The study revealed that couples who posted three or more selfies per week were, on average, 128% less happy compared to those who refrained from broadcasting their relationship on the internet. In fact, only 10% of frequent social media sharers categorized themselves as “very happy.”

In contrast, nearly half (46%) of those who don’t publicize their relationships online perceived themselves as happier. The unhappiest group was couples who posted more than three times a week, with merely 32% classifying their relationship as “happy” or “very happy.”

Reasons Happy Couples Post Less on Social Media

This study’s findings hint at potential underlying issues. One compelling inference is that trust issues could be prompting couples to post more frequently on social media. The main reason identified for couples sharing their relationship online was to signify that they or their partner were ‘taken.’

Interestingly, the top three reasons why couples refrained from sharing their relationships online were: “privacy,” “embarrassment,” and being “not regular social media users.”

Of course, not all social media sharing is detrimental but hinted at the danger of overdoing it.

The results suggest a potent social media paradox. In a world where social platforms allow us to share our lives with a broader audience, we might unknowingly be sacrificing the intimacy and privacy that nourish a truly fulfilling relationship.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Happy Couples Post Their Partner Less on Social Media” — Relevant

WTF Fun Fact 13399 – Rumors of an Alien Blood Type

A speculative (to say the least!) theory is making waves on TikTok about an alien blood type here on Earth. It’s claiming that individuals with the Rhesus-negative blood type might have extraterrestrial origins. It’s no doubt playing off the recent lack of transparency from the U.S. and other governments about their unidentified aerial phenomenon research.

But in case you think you might be part alien, we’re here to disappoint you.

Quacks, non-experts, and careless speculators

This theory of an alien blood type lacks any legitimate evidence. In fact, it’s not even a new claim.

This “alien blood type” was presented as a “thought-provoking” concept back in 2009 on The History Channel’s show Ancient Aliens. It’s a show that often recklessly combines some scientific research with fringe theories and non-expert viewpoints, typically to get a rise out of people with wild speculations.

So what’s with the alien blood type?

The claim making rounds in the depths of social media states that people with the rhesus-negative blood type could be descendants of extraterrestrials.

It all started with a TikTok video (which is usually how you know it requires more data). It also showed a group of people they refer to as “experts” presenting theories on how these aliens might have influenced our genetic makeup. These commentators suggested that aliens may have been interbreeding with humans or deliberate genetic engineering hybrids at some point in the past. Why? How? Well, since there’s no evidence, there’s no real answer to that.

There’s a LOT of plain old speculation in the clip (including that aliens would even have the same molecular makeup as humans and be able to cross-breed).

Anyway, as a result, the show’s guests suggested – again, without any evidence – that a small portion of the population could be descended from aliens.

Those they chose to be marked as aliens?: People with the relatively rare blood type known as Rhesus (Rh) negative.

What is Rhesus-negative blood?

Only around 15% of the global population has Rhesus-negative blood. As a result, it has intrigued scientists and medical professionals since its discovery in the late 1930s. But there are other rare blood types.

You’ve no doubt heard of the blood types A, B, and O (positive and negative). But there are actually many more blood grouping systems than ABO – over 40 more. This includes Rhesus (Rh), Langereis (Lan), Kell (KEL), Duffy (FY), etc.

So, blood types are really interesting and confusing – and they go far beyond what we learned in 8th-grade biology. That doesn’t mean there’s any reason to believe people with rare blood types are descended from aliens.

Why make the jump from rare blood to alien blood?

The mystery surrounding Rhesis-negative’s origin has allowed some people to do what they do with other things that confuse them – run rampant with random theories. It’s actually pretty common for us to fill in the gaps with our own ideas. But in this case, a few people decided to attribute the blood type’s existence to alien influence. The History Channel gave them a platform on which to do it and made them seem legitimate. And the internet did the rest.

This claim falls under the category of the “Aliens of the Gaps” argument, a variation of the “God of the Gaps” argument often used by creationists. It suggests that when there is no agreed-upon explanation for a phenomenon, it can be attributed to extraterrestrial activity. And if you think that sounds like a reasonable conclusion…well, you do you.

So why, despite the lack of evidence for alien-human hybrids, does the claim persist? Well, it’s presented using a clever rhetorical technique. By combining the views of actual scientists and experts with non-experts in a way that blurs the lines between them, it creates the illusion of a balanced discussion where all perspectives are equally valid.

You might now recognize how common this rhetorical strategy is these days – even when it doesn’t involve aliens.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Having Rhesus-Negative Blood Does Not Mean You’re Descended From Aliens” — IFL Science

WTF Fun Fact 13393 – The First Social Media Platform

The first social media platform, Six Degrees, was launched in 1997. It allowed users to create profiles and connect with friends, similar to modern social networks.

Building the first social media platform

Andrew Weinreich developed Six Degrees and took it live in 1997. This groundbreaking platform laid the foundation for the transformative power of social networking.

During the early days of the internet, Six Degrees aimed to bring people together in the digital realm. Weinreich’s brainchild allowed users to create profiles, connect with friends, and exchange messages. In other words, he pioneered the concept of social networking that would shape the future of online interactions.

Making connections

At the heart of Six Degrees was its emphasis on fostering connections. Users could expand their network by linking to friends and acquaintances, creating a web of interwoven relationships. This focus on connectivity became the driving force behind the subsequent explosion of social networking platforms.

However, Six Degrees faced significant challenges along its journey. The internet infrastructure was still in its early stages, characterized by slow speeds and limited accessibility. Additionally, the lack of widespread smartphone usage hindered the platform’s growth. Ultimately, Six Degrees ceased operations in 2000, marking the end of its pioneering era.

Those that came after

Nevertheless, Six Degrees remains a precursor to the vast array of social media platforms we engage with today. Its visionary concept paved the way for subsequent platforms to thrive and redefine the way we connect and engage online.

Following in the footsteps of Six Degrees, a wave of social media platforms emerged in the early 2000s, each offering unique features and functionalities. Platforms like MySpace, Friendster, and LinkedIn capitalized on the growing desire for digital connections and played a crucial role in shaping the social media landscape we know today.

The legacy of Six Degrees lives on as an instrumental chapter in the history of social media. While its reign was relatively short-lived, the platform’s pioneering spirit and its vision of interconnectedness set the stage for the remarkable evolution of social networking that followed.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Then and now: a history of social networking sites” — CBS News

WTF Fun Fact 13341 – Parrot Video Calls

Parrots are social animals. That’s why they don’t always make the best solo pets. However, recently, researchers have given pet parrots a new way to thrive after teaching the birds to use technology to make parrot video calls.

Parrot playtime with video calls

Researchers from Northwestern University, MIT, and the University of Glasgow conducted the study. With the help of some parrot parents, the team successfully trained parrots to communicate with each other.

Over several months, participants taught captive African grey parrots to use a custom-built video-calling system. First, researchers trained the birds to use touchscreens mounted inside their enclosures with easy-to-understand symbols and icons representing different contacts. The researchers rewarded their interactions with food treats. As the birds grew more comfortable with the devices, they were gradually introduced to video calls, first with their handlers and later with other parrots.

Parrots embrace technology

The African grey parrots demonstrated a remarkable ability to learn and adapt to the use of the video-calling system. Not only were they able to initiate calls, but they also showed preferences for specific contacts, indicating that they understood the purpose of the technology and were actively seeking social interaction through the calls.

The study found that the parrots were more likely to engage in video calls when they were alone in their enclosures. This suggests that the video-calling system provided social stimulation and companionship, especially in the absence of human interaction. The introduction of video-calling technology in captive settings could potentially improve the quality of life for these intelligent and social animals.

So, it turns out parrots like to video chat with one another just like humans do, and that it makes them feel less lonely. Many birds in the study stayed on the calls for the maximum allotted time and still choose to call their buddies from the research study over a year later.

According to Northwestern University:

“The most popular parrots were also the ones who initiated the most calls, suggesting a reciprocal dynamic similar to human socialization. And while, in large part, the birds seemed to enjoy the activity itself, the human participants played a big part in that. Some parrots relished the extra attention they were getting from their humans, while others formed attachments for the humans on the other side of the screen.”

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Scientists Taught Pet Parrots to Video Call Each Other—and the Birds Loved It” — Smithsonian Magazine

WTF Fun Fact 13250 – Posting Uninformed Comments

We all know that the comment section is a black hole that attracts uninformed comments. It’s the place where dignity and informed debate go to die. But a 2019 study by researchers at York College of Pennsylvania gives some insight into why these comments are so prevalent.

However, the authors distinguish between being uninformed (recognizing one’s own ignorance) and misinformed (confidently holding inaccurate beliefs). In this case, we’re talking mainly about misinformation. But not all researchers use these words in the same way.

Why are there so many uninformed comments and misinformed commenters?

In a nutshell, it’s because people just don’t read enough. If they do, they skim previews of most content. This is especially true when it’s about something that riles them up – like politics. They don’t take the time to really try and process what an article is about before they comment on it. In fact, skimming makes them highly confident that they do have something worthwhile to say. Never mind that this is correlated with having less reliable insight.

According to ScienceAlert’s coverage of the research (cited below):

“By glancing through article previews, instead of reading the full piece, many users overestimate their understanding of an issue, and this is especially true for those whose knowledge is guided by strong emotions – and, therefore, strong opinions.”

The research on uninformed comments comes from the academic article “A little bit of knowledge: Facebook’s News Feed and self-perceptions of knowledge” published in the journal Research & Politics.

There, the authors note:

“We argue that Facebook’s News Feed itself, with its short article previews, provides enough political information for learning to occur. However, this learning comes with an additional consequence: audiences who only read article previews think they know more than they actually do, especially individuals who are motivated to seek emotions.”

Emotions over data

You’ve probably noticed that people with strong opinions like to throw out information they seem confident about. But it’s worth considering how much it matches their desire to seem smart.

The researchers noted, “Those who are more driven by emotion allow the positive feelings associated with being right to override the need for actual accuracy, thus coming away from limited exposure to information falsely overconfident in their knowledge of the subject matter.”

Sound like anyone you know on social media?  WTF fun facts

Source: “Didn’t Read The Article Before Commenting? Science Says It Really Shows” — Science Alert

WTF Fun Fact 13007 – Dead People With Facebook Accounts

Fun Fact: An estimated 30 million Facebook accounts belong to people who have died. By the year 2070, a study has estimated there will be more dead people with Facebook accounts than living users.


Studies estimate that somewhere between 10 million and 30 million Facebook accounts belong to users who have died. Facebook can memorialize accounts if they’re notified of a death, but most people don’t think to plan for the legacy of their social media accounts. According to PopCrush, “a Good Trust survey revealed ‘some 90 percent of people here in the U.S. have no plans whatsoever” as to “what happens to the digital stuff’ after they die.”

Of course, Facebook is notoriously private about user data, so there’s no way to confirm the exact numbers.

Facebook, graveyard

According to The Guardian (cited below), “If Facebook continues to grow at its current rate, the site could have 4.9 billion deceased members by 2100…” This was estimated by Oxford University researchers.

“Even if growth had stopped entirely last year, the study finds, Facebook would be looking at about 1.4 billion dead members by 2100. By 2070, in that scenario, the dead would already outnumber the living.”

The ethical issues of dead Facebook users

You may not think it’s a big deal if a social media user is dead, but questions arise about who owns the data they’ve posted. This is especially thorny if they’ve posted something in the past that family or friends come to consider private.

The question is: who is entitled to your digital legacy?

If you haven’t left a trusted person with your passwords in the event of your death, is there anything on your social media pages that could become problematic in the future? (This might be a big problem if, for example, you spend a lot of time posting about your kids.) WTF fun facts

Source: “Facebook could have 4.9bn dead users by 2100, study finds” — The Guardian

WTF Fun Fact 12945 – Snapchat Dysmorphia

If you’re over 30, you probably remember the days when getting rid of red-eye in a photo was your biggest photographic concern. Now, people have so many options that the results hardly look human. And that’s a big problem when it aids people’s body dysmorphic disorder or creates the newly-minted “Snapchat dysmorphia.”

Striving for perfection

Plenty of us are guilty of looking at an old photo and wishing we looked that good in real life. Some of us even try to use that photo as a guide for how to style ourselves in the future. But social media filters do something different to our psyches. That’s because they allow us to airbrush away the tiniest flaws, see what we look like in perfect lighting, and even allow us to snip in our waists or hips.

Once we see ourselves as we truly want to be, the effects can be a little too alluring. In fact, more and more people are getting plastic surgery to look more like their filtered selves.

According to Jessica Baron in Forbes, “[In 2018] we were introduced to the phrase “Snapchat dysmorphia” in a piece by researchers from the Department of Dermatology at Boston University’s School of Medicine. In JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, they described the ability of Snapchat and FaceTune filters to smooth out skin and make teeth look whiter and lips look fuller as a gateway to seeing oneself in a whole new way – a way users wanted to replicate in real life.”

Things have only gotten worse since then.

Your profile pic, yourself

According to Healthline (cited below), filtering isn’t necessarily the problem: “Filtering your selfies isn’t necessarily harmful. Often, it’s nothing more than a fun exercise, like dressing up or experimenting with a new makeup style.” The problem is when we filter ourselves so heavily and so constantly that we start to get disconnected from reality (especially the reality that someone could be so flawless).

“Snapchat dysmorphia, to put it simply, happens when you compare filtered selfies to your actual appearance. When you fixate on your perceived flaws, the feelings of discontent and unhappiness that surface might lead you to wish you could alter your features to match those filtered images.”

Snapchat dysmorphia is a problem, but not yet a diagnosis

Social media use in general has long been linked to increased bodily dissatisfaction. In fact, Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) is named in 8 lawsuits accusing the company of exploiting young people for profit.

Healthline states, “Snapchat dysmorphia isn’t an official mental health diagnosis, so experts have yet to determine a standard definition, criteria, or symptoms.”

Simply filtering your selfies doesn’t qualify you for this potential future diagnosis, however. Cosmetic surgery or injections to alter your face or body are things people have been doing for decades.

The problems come in when we fixate on our appearance in selfies, feel like we can no longer be as good as our social media selves, and get preoccupied with “flaws” that only we see (such as our eye placement, forehead, lip shape, etc.).

Some people become obsessed with taking selfies and editing them. They may go back and edit old photos to alter their appearance to measure up to some perceived standard. They feel anxiety over going out without heavy makeup. Or they get defensive when others take photos. They may even feel worse about themselves the more they take and alter selfies. The problem is, they’re unable to stop.

We may find that, in a few years, there’s a mental health diagnosis that addresses this.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Snapchat Dysmorphia: Does Perfection Lie Just a Filter Away?” — Healthline