By Daniel Hunter

As was widely expected Facebook have announced official plans to float on the stock market.

The world's largest social networking site have said they will look to raise in the region of $5 billion, which is half what analysts had originally expected.

But the initial public offering (IPO) is still expected to be the biggest sale of shares by an internet company.

"Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission - to make the world more open and connected," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said.

"We think it's important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do."

Facebook filed its intention to float with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the US stock markets closed.

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