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Facebook: Status update from 1902 shows newspapers were always ahead of the times

By WMNDavidWells  |  Posted: February 04, 2014

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Social networking giant Facebook celebrates its 10th birthday today, but a recently re-discovered newspaper clipping reveals the name is nothing new.

A report in Exeter newspaper The Western Times from 1902 tells its readers about “the latest novelty for wiling the time in a country house... known as a ’Face-book”’.

The lower-tech version involved guests at stately homes drawing a picture of a face in an album before signing it, with the newspaper adding: “The result is very amusing and the worst drawings frequently cause the greatest entertainment.”

Amy Sell, a researcher from the British Newspaper Archive, said: “Forgotten stories like this really enrich what we know about the past. It’s surprising just how closely the ‘Face-book’ of 1902 reflects what we use today – history certainly does seem to repeat itself.”

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The modern-day Facebook has users around the world and last week reported record revenues of 2.5 billion dollars (£1.5 billion) from 750 million daily users – a revenue rise of one billion dollars (£0.6 billion) on the same period last year.

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