Social network went from digital directory for college kids to communications behemoth – and it’s planning for prosperity with its global takeover

It’s late afternoon on a blustery spring day on the waterfront at San Francisco’s Fort Mason, a former military base that’s now hired out for corporate functions. Vast warehouses, once used to store army supplies, are awash with sleek signs, shimmering lights and endless snacks. Behind them is an Instagram-ready view of Alcatraz island. In front, a fleet of Uber and Lyft cars lines up in the car park, while inside one of the warehouses Scottish synthpop band Chvrches take the stage.

For the first few songs there’s only a small group of hardcore vocal fans at the front of the stage, flanked by a subdued mix of backpack-wearing dad types politely bobbing their heads, drinking cocktails out of plastic cups.

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