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How Facebook Has Changed in 10 Years -- Courtesy of an Ex-Employee

Real talk.

What a difference a decade makes.

Facebook celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Tuesday, marked mostly by hearkening back to all the moments its billion-plus users have shared on the network. (The company even built a nifty tool to let you do that on your own.)

My favorite bit of nostalgia won’t be plucked from my own Timeline. It comes courtesy of Blake Ross, a six-year product veteran at Facebook who left the company last year. He penned an excellent status update, which you can read in full here.

Ross — who, if you’ll remember, quickly built Poke, Facebook’s Snapchat clone — engages in the usual sentimental retrospective, happy he spent the time at the social giant.

The far more interesting part: Ross basically rattles off a list of “capital-R rules” from Facebook’s early days, items that, according to Ross, you just didn’t question changing. Along with the vision of Facebook being “merely a pipe” without a playful design personality, the list reads as a step-by-step guide to what Facebook used to be, versus what it is today.

Take a look, selected from Ross’s post:

There were many other capital-R Rules that at one time won arguments at FB HQ immediately:

– No, you can’t let moms join Facebook because Facebook is for students.

– No, you can’t put ads in newsfeed because newsfeed is sacred.

– No, you can’t allow people to follow strangers because Facebook is for real-world friends.

– No, you can’t launch a standalone app because integration is our wheelhouse.

– No, you can’t encourage public sharing because Facebook is for private sharing.

– No, you can’t encourage private sharing because Facebook is moving toward public sharing.

– No, you can’t encourage public sharing because Facebook is moving toward ultra-private sharing between small groups.

And this one’s a snapchat with about 3 seconds left, so hurry up and bludgeon someone with it:

– No, you can’t allow anonymity because Facebook is built on real identity.

I’m not necessarily being critical of Facebook here; obviously Facebook has changed from the time of its genesis through its maturation into a successful public company.

But it’s funny to see exactly what, according to Ross, Facebook’s employees were adamantly against just a few short years ago, and how different that is from the Facebook we know today.

Makes you wonder what sort of policies Facebook will change its mind about over the next 10 years.

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