This image in the IPO filing shows some of the employees likely to benefit. Founder Mark Zuckerberg is pictured centre under the white space.
Last updated at 9:29 AM on 2nd February 2012
The company hopes to list its stock under the ticker symbol 'FB' on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Stock Market.
In its regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook Inc. indicated it hopes to raise $5billion in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) - a new record for a technology company, surpassing Google's $1.9billion IPO in 2004.
This is a remarkable turnaround for a company which, as its founder explained in a letter attached to the filing, 'was not originally created to be a company', and still uses 'The Hacker Way' to guide its development.
The filing laid bare a number of key facts about the previously secretive firm - and exposed Mr Zuckerberg's strict control over many aspects of the company's management.
The site has 845million active users, and half of them typically visit the site on any given day.
While it may seem that everyone in the English-speaking world has a Facebook account, in fact the site has only penetrated 60 per cent of the market in the U.S. and the UK, and is most popular in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela.
The filing makes it clear that China, where Facebook is currently banned, is the next big target - but expresses doubt that it can craft a censorship policy which would be 'acceptable to us and to the Chinese government'.
Even without access to the Chinese market, and with relatively few users in countries like Japan and South Korea, Facebook managed to make $668million in profit last year, out of total revenue of $3.7billion.
Advertising accounted for 85 per cent of that revenue, but that was less than in previous years thanks to the spectacular success of games company Zynga, which contributed 12 per cent of Facebook's revenue through royalties which amount to 30 per cent of the money spent on Zynga's games via Facebook.
And despite the runaway growth of Facebook since its origins in 2004, amazing power remains concentrated in the hands of one man: Mr Zuckerberg.
Despite owning no more than a quarter of shares, he will control 57 per cent of votes even after the sale of shares to the public.
The company's filing even singled out Mr Zuckerberg's control as a major risk which could jeopardise the company's performance in future - it pointed out that he was able to vote 'in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally'.
But he will not prove much of a burden to the company financially - his salary, which was $500,000 in 2011, is set to drop to just $1 next year.