Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg and his company Facebook announced today that the social networking site will be offering verified accounts to it's most popular users.

Facebook is believed to be preparing for its stock market debut with an initial public offering that could see the social network command a $100 billion (£65bn) valuation.

Tech blog AllThingsD -- which is part of the Wall Street Journal -- reported that Facebook will be presenting its IPO in the third week of May; this would require the social network to begin filing detailed financial information by mid-February.

AllThingsD said: "According to multiple sources, the long-anticipated public offering of Facebook is now likely to come in the third week of May.

"That means that the company must file its IPO documents within the next month, given that the review by the Securities and Exchange Commission usually takes about three to four months."

Reports suggest that Facebook will raise as much as $10 billion on a $100 billion valuation, making it one of the largest web offerings in history.

Under U.S law, any company that surpasses 500 outside investors must disclose financial data and this data must be made available no more than 120 days after the end of the calendar year in which the 500 mark is passed. This rule gives Facebook a deadline of April 30.

Facebook has gone from strength to strength with advertising revenue growing from $264 million in 2008 to $3.8 billion in 2011 while the site is expected to pass the one billion user mark later this year.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: "The thing to take away isn't that we don't care [about business]. People for years were asking me why aren't we trying to make more money?

"I would say I'm trying to build a business for the long term and it was clearly the right strategy."

The Guardian believes that British financial public relations specialist Brunswick Group has been appointed by Facebook to manage the listing. Brunswick group also represented Groupon during its initial public offering last year.

Groupon's IPO was the largest since Google, when it entered the market in early November having raised $700 million but the company's share price fell below the $20 level of its IPO soon after the IPO. It closed at $19.15 last Friday.

When contacted by the International Business Times UK, Facebook said that it does not comment on speculation.