The Facebook Might Have Been Named After Student Directory At Phillips Exeter Academy

Posted May 13, 2009

Before Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University, he attended a private boarding high school called Phillips Exeter Academy.  Education at this elite high school has a tuition cost of $37,960 for boarding students per year and $29,330 per year for day students.  The school was established in the 1780’s and has alumni that comprises of politicians, major executives, celebrities, etc.

When Zuckerberg was at Harvard he worked for a company on campus called ConnectU that was started by Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra.  He quit that company to start his own company called  Zuckberg reportedly turned down offers to be acquired by both Microsoft and Yahoo! after it had started growing rapidly.  The origins of the name may have started at Exeter itself.

Below are a couple of images from Exeter of their annual student directory.  The student directory is titled “The Photo Address Book” but has the nickname of “The Facebook.”  David W. Farrant, a student at Exeter that graduated in 2000 confirmed with ReadWriteWeb that The Photo Address Book was called The Facebook by students because the original name was a mouthful.

When Zuckerberg was a senior, student body president Kris Tillery pushed to have the student directory published online in 2000.  It turned out that they did take the student directory online under the URL:  This website is not online anymore.

While Zuckerberg was at Exeter, he developed an artificial intelligence music player software that Microsoft and AOL both had interest in.  Both companies also wanted to recruit Zuckerberg to their companies, but he decided to go to Harvard instead.   At Harvard, Zuckerberg also started a service called Facemash which was similar to Hot or Not, but pulled photos of student dorm photos.  Admins at Harvard were not happy with that service so they had him take it down.

And that is one of the origins of Facebook.  If Zuckerberg did not attend Exeter, there probably would not be a Facebook today and Friendster would still be the place to be.

[via ReadWriteWeb]