From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the website. For the namesake company that owns the site, see Facebook, Inc.. For the type
of photographic directory, see Face book.
Type of site Social networking service
Availablelanguage(s) Multilingual (70)
Users 901 million (active April 2012)
Owner Facebook, Inc.
Launched February 4, 2004
Alexa rank 2 (June 2012)
Current status Active
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, owned and operated
by Facebook, Inc. As of May 2012, Facebook has over 900 million active users, more than half of them using
Facebook on a mobile device. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal
profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update
their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or
college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work" or "Close
Friends". The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of
the academic year by some university administrations in the United States to help students get to know each
other. Facebook allows any users who declare themselves to be at least 13 years old to become registered users
of the site.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo
Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to
Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford
University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school
students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over. However, according to a May 2011 Consumer
Reports survey, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts and 5 million under 10, violating the site's
terms of service.
A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social networking service by worldwide
monthly active users. Entertainment Weekly included the site on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying,
"How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing
game of Scrabulous before Facebook?" Critics, such as Facebook Detox, state that Facebook has turned
into a national obsession that results in vast amounts of time lost and innately encourages
narcissism. Quantcast estimates Facebook has 138.9 million monthly unique U.S. visitors in May
2011. According to Social Media Today, in April 2010 an estimated 41.6% of the U.S. population had a
Facebook account. Nevertheless, Facebook's market growth started to stall in some regions, with the site
losing 7 million active users in the United States and Canada in May 2011.
o 2.1 User Profile
o 2.2 Privacy Settings
o 2.3 Comparison with Myspace
o 2.4 News Feed
o 2.5 Facebook Notes
o 2.6 Facebook Username
o 2.7 Facebook Messages
o 2.8 Voice Calls
o 2.9 Video Calling
o 2.10 Facebook Subscribe
o 2.11 Privacy
2.11.1 FTC settlement
o 2.12 Technical aspects
o 5.1 Media impact
o 5.2 Social impact
o 5.3 Political impact
6 In popular culture
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Main articles: History of Facebook and Timeline of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facemash, the predecessor to Facebook, on October 28, 2003, while
attending Harvard as a sophomore. According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable toHot or Not,
and "used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine houses, placing two next to each other at a time
and asking users to choose the 'hotter' person"
Mark Zuckerberg co-created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room.
To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into the protected areas of Harvard's computer network and copied the
houses' private dormitory ID images. Harvard at that time did not have a student "facebook" (a directory with
photos and basic information), though individual houses had been issuing their own paper facebooks since the
mid-1980s. Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.
The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the
Harvard administration. Zuckerberg was charged by the administration with breach of security,
violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy, and faced expulsion. Ultimately, the charges were
dropped. Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of
an art history final, by uploading 500 Augustan images to a website, with one image per page along with a
comment section. He opened the site up to his classmates, and people started sharing their notes.
The following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website in January 2004. He was inspired, he
said, by an editorial in The Harvard Crimsonabout the Facemash incident. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg
launched "Thefacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com.
Six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya
Narendra, accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build a social
network called HarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing
product. The three complained to the Harvard Crimson, and the newspaper began an investigation. The three
later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, subsequently settling.
Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College, and within the first month, more than half the
undergraduate population at Harvard was registered on the service. Eduardo Saverin (business aspects),
Dustin Moskovitz (programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and Chris Hughes soon joined Zuckerberg to
help promote the website. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. It soon
opened to the other Ivy League schools, Boston University, New York University, MIT, and gradually most
universities in Canada and the United States.
Facebook was incorporated in mid-2004, and the entrepreneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising
Zuckerberg, became the company's president. In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo
Alto, California. It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The
company dropped The from its name after purchasing thedomain name facebook.com in 2005 for $200,000.
Total active users[N 1]
Date Days later Monthly growth[N 2]
August 26, 2008 100 1,665 178.38%
April 8, 2009 200 225 13.33%
Total active users[N 1]
Date Days later Monthly growth[N 2]
September 15, 2009 300 160 9.38%
February 5, 2010 400 143 6.99%
July 21, 2010 500 166 4.52%
January 5, 2011 600[N 3] 168 3.57%
May 30, 2011 700 145 3.45%
September 22, 2011 800 115 3.73%
April 24, 2012 900 215 1.74%
Facebook launched a high-school version in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical
step. At that time, high-school networks required an invitation to join. Facebook later expanded membership
eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. Facebook was then opened
on September 26, 2006, to everyone of age 13 and older with a valid email address.
On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million,
giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. Microsoft's purchase included rights to place
international ads on Facebook. In October 2008, Facebook announced that it would set up its international
headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. In September 2009, Facebook said that it had turned cash-flow positive for the
first time. In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc., an exchange for shares of privately held
companies, Facebook's value was $41 billion (slightly surpassing eBay's) and it became the third largest U.S.
Web company after Google and Amazon.
Traffic to Facebook increased steadily after 2009. More people visited Facebook than Google for the week
ending March 13, 2010.
In March 2011 it was reported that Facebook removes approximately 20,000 profiles from the site every day for
various infractions, including spam, inappropriate content and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber
In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move to its new headquarters, the former Sun
Microsystems campus inMenlo Park, California.
Release of statistics by DoubleClick showed that Facebook reached one trillion pageviews in the month of June
2011, making it the most visited website in the world. It should however be noted that Google and some of its
selected websites are not counted in the DoubleClick rankings. According to the Nielsen Media Research study,
released in December 2011, Facebook is the second most accessed website in the US.
In March 2012, Facebook announced App Center, an online mobile store which sells applications that connect to
Facebook. The store will be available to iPhone, Android and mobile web users. In April, Facebook bought the
application Instagram for US$1 billion.
In early May of 2012, Facebook acquired social discovery start-up Glancee.
Facebook, Inc. held an initial public offering on May 17, 2012, negotiating a share price of $38 apiece, valuing the
company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.
In April 2012, Facebook acquired the mobile customer loyalty firm Tagline.
In May 2012, the company settled a class action lawsuit regarding the use of member's images in ads called
"sponsored stories" for $10 million.
Facebook bought facial-recognition technology company Face.com in June 2012.
Main articles: Facebook features and Facebook Platform
Facebook "Timeline" profile shown in May 2012
Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005
Users can create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information, and other personal
information. Users can communicate with friends and other users through private or public messages and a chat
feature. They can also create and join interest groups and "like pages" (called "fan pages" until April 19, 2010),
some of which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising. A 2012 Pew Internet and American
Life study identified that between 20–30% of Facebook users are "power users" who frequently link, poke, post
and tag themselves and others.
To allay concerns about privacy, Facebook enables users to choose their own privacy settings and choose who
can see specific parts of their profile. The website is free to users, and generates revenue from advertising,
such as banner ads. Facebook requires a user's name and profile picture (if applicable) to be accessible by
everyone. Users can control who sees other information they have shared, as well as who can find them in
searches, through their privacy settings.
Comparison with Myspace
The media often compares Facebook to MySpace, but one significant difference between the two Web sites is
the level of customization. Another difference is Facebook's requirement that users give their true identity, a
demand that MySpace does not make. MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles
using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), while Facebook allows only plain text. Facebook has a
number of features with which users may interact. They include the Wall, a space on every user's profile page
that allows friends to post messages for the user to see; Pokes, which allows users to send a virtual "poke" to
each other (a notification then tells a user that they have been poked); Photos, where users can upload albums
and photos; and Status, which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and
actions. Depending on privacy settings, anyone who can see a user's profile can also view that user's Wall. In
July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously
limited to textual content only.
On September 6, 2006, a News Feed was announced, which appears on every user's homepage and highlights
information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays of the user's friends. This enabled
spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays
to attract attention to their profile or cause. Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook
users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, others were concerned that it
made it too easy for others to track individual activities (such as relationship status changes, events, and
conversations with other users).
In response, Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site's failure to include appropriate customizable privacy
features. Since then, users have been able to control what types of information are shared automatically with
friends. Users are now able to prevent user-set categories of friends from seeing updates about certain types of
activities, including profile changes, Wall posts, and newly added friends.
On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted a patent on certain aspects of its News Feed. The patent covers
News Feeds in which links are provided so that one user can participate in the same activity of another
user. The patent may encourage Facebook to pursue action against websites that violate its patent, which may
potentially include websites such as Twitter.
One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums and
photos. Facebook allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos, compared with other image hosting
services such as Photobucket and Flickr, which apply limits to the number of photos that a user is allowed to
upload. During the first years, Facebook users were limited to 60 photos per album. As of May 2009, this limit has
been increased to 200 photos per album.
Privacy settings can be set for individual albums, limiting the groups of users that can see an album. For
example, the privacy of an album can be set so that only the user's friends can see the album, while the privacy
of another album can be set so that all Facebook users can see it. Another feature of the Photos application is
the ability to "tag", or label, users in a photo. For instance, if a photo contains a user's friend, then the user can
tag the friend in the photo. This sends a notification to the friend that they have been tagged, and provides them
a link to see the photo. On 7th June 2012,facebook launched its App Center to its users. It will help the users
in finding games and other applications with ease.
Facebook Notes was introduced on August 22, 2006, a blogging feature that allowed tags and embeddable
images. Users were later able to import blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging
services. During the week of April 7, 2008, Facebook released a Comet-based instant
messaging application called "Chat" to several networks, which allows users to communicate with friends and
is similar in functionality to desktop-based instant messengers.
Facebook launched Gifts on February 8, 2007, which allows users to send virtual gifts to their friends that appear
on the recipient's profile. Gifts cost $1.00 each to purchase, and a personalized message can be attached to
each gift. On May 14, 2007, Facebook launched Marketplace, which lets users post free classified
ads. Marketplace has been compared to Craigslist byCNET, which points out that the major difference
between the two is that listings posted by a user on Marketplace are seen only by users in the same network as
that user, whereas listings posted on Craigslist can be seen by anyone.
On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced "Facebook Beta", a significant redesign of its user interface on selected
networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort
was made to create a "cleaner" look. After initially giving users a choice to switch, Facebook began migrating
all users to the new version starting in September 2008. On December 11, 2008, it was announced that
Facebook was testing a simpler signup process.
On June 13, 2009, Facebook introduced a "Usernames" feature, whereby pages can be linked with
simpler URLs such as http://www.facebook.com/facebook instead
ofhttp://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20531316728. Many new smartphones offer
access to Facebook services through either their Web browsers or applications. An official Facebook application
is available for the operating systems Android, iOS, and webOS. Nokia and Research In Motion both provide
Facebook applications for their own mobile devices. More than 425 million active users access Facebook through
mobile devices across 200 mobile operators in 60 countries.
On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced a new "Facebook Messages" service. In a media event that day,
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "It's true that people will be able to have an @facebook.com email addresses, but
it's not email". The launch of such a feature had been anticipated for some time before the announcement, with
some calling it a "Gmail killer". The system, to be available to all of the website's users, combines text
messaging, instant messaging, emails, and regular messages, and will include privacy settings similar to those of
other Facebook services. Codenamed "Project Titan", Facebook Messages took 15 months to develop.
In February 2011, Facebook began to use the hCalendar microformat to mark up events, and the hCard
microformat for the events' venues, enabling the extraction of details to users' own calendar or mapping
Since April 2011 Facebook users have had the ability to make live voice calls via Facebook Chat, allowing users
to chat with others from all over the world. This feature, which is provided free through T-Mobile's new Bobsled
service, lets the user add voice to the current Facebook Chat as well as leave voice messages on Facebook.
On July 6, 2011, Facebook launched its video calling services using Skype as its technology partner. It allows
one to one calling using a Skype Rest API.
On September 14, 2011, Facebook launched a Subscribe button. The feature allows for users to follow public
updates, and these are the people most often broadcasting their ideas. There were major modifications that
the site released on September 22, 2011.
As reported by TechCrunch on February 15, 2012, Facebook is introducing ‘Verified Account’ concept like that of
Twitter & Google+. Though as of March 3, 2012, verified accounts don’t get any badges or denotations, but such
accounts will get more priority in ‘Subscription Suggestions’ of Facebook.
On March 6, 2012, Facebook officially launched Messenger for Windows, which gives users of Windows
7 access to some Facebook services without using a web browser.
According to comScore, an internet marketing research company, Facebook collects as much data from its
visitors as Google and Microsoft, but considerably less than Yahoo!. In 2010, the security team began
expanding its efforts to reduce the risks to users' privacy, but privacy concerns remain. On November 6, 2007,
Facebook launched Facebook Beacon, which was an ultimately failed attempt to advertise to friends of users
using the knowledge of what purchases friends made. As of March 2012, Facebook's usage of its user data is
under close scrutiny.
On November 29, 2011, Facebook agreed to settle US Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived
consumers by failing to keep privacy promises.
Facebook is built in PHP which is compiled with HipHop for PHP, a source code transformer built by Facebook
engineers that turns PHP into C++. The deployment of HipHop reportedly reduced average CPU consumption on
Facebook servers by 50%.
Facebook is developed as one monolithic application. According to an interview in 2012 with Chuck Rossi, a build
engineer at Facebook, Facebook compiles into a 1.5 GB binary blob which is then distributed to the servers using
a custom BitTorrent-based release system. Rossi stated that it takes approximately 15 minutes to build and 15
minutes to release to the servers. The build and release process is zero downtime and new changes to Facebook
are rolled out daily.
Facebook popularity. Active users of Facebook increased from just a million in 2004 to over 750 million in 2011. 
Registered Facebook users by age as of 2010.
According to comScore, Facebook is the leading social networking site based on monthly unique visitors, having
overtaken main competitor MySpace in April 2008. ComScore reports that Facebook attracted 130 million
unique visitors in May 2010, an increase of 8.6 million people. According to Alexa, the website's ranking
among all websites increased from 60th to 7th in worldwide traffic, from September 2006 to September 2007, and
is currently 2nd. Quantcast ranks the website 2nd in the U.S. in traffic, andCompete.com ranks it 2nd in
the U.S. The website is the most popular for uploading photos, with 50 billion uploaded cumulatively. In
2010, Sophos's "Security Threat Report 2010" polled over 500 firms, 60% of which responded that they believed
that Facebook was the social network that posed the biggest threat to security, well ahead of MySpace, Twitter,
Facebook is the most popular social networking site in several English-speaking countries, including
  
Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In regional Internet markets, Facebook
penetration is highest in North America (69 percent), followed by Middle East-Africa (67 percent), Latin America
(58 percent), Europe (57 percent), and Asia-Pacific (17 percent).
The website has won awards such as placement into the "Top 100 Classic Websites" by PC Magazine in
2007, and winning the "People's Voice Award" from the Webby Awards in 2008. In a 2006 study
conducted by Student Monitor, a New Jersey-based company specializing in research concerning the college
student market, Facebook was named the second most popular thing among undergraduates, tied with beer and
only ranked lower than the iPod.
On March 2010, Judge Richard Seeborg issued an order approving the class settlement in Lane v. Facebook,
Inc., the class action lawsuit arising out of Facebook's Beacon program.
In 2010, Facebook won the Crunchie "Best Overall Startup Or Product" for the third year in a row and was
recognized as one of the "Hottest Silicon Valley Companies" by Lead411. However, in a July 2010 survey
performed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook received a score of 64 out of 100, placing it
in the bottom 5% of all private-sector companies in terms of customer satisfaction, alongside industries such as
the IRS e-file system, airlines, and cable companies. The reasons why Facebook scored so poorly include
privacy problems, frequent changes to the website's interface, the results returned by the News Feed, and
In December 2008, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory ruled that Facebook is a
valid protocol to serve court notices to defendants. It is believed to be the world's first legal judgement that
defines a summons posted on Facebook as legally binding. In March 2009, the New Zealand High Court
associate justice David Gendall allowed for the serving of legal papers on Craig Axe by the company Axe Market
Garden via Facebook. Employers (such as Virgin Atlantic Airways) have also used Facebook as a means
to keep tabs on their employees and have even been known to fire them over posts they have made.
By 2005, the use of Facebook had already become so ubiquitous that the generic verb "facebooking" had come
into use to describe the process of browsing others' profiles or updating one's own. In 2008, Collins English
Dictionary declared "Facebook" as its new Word of the Year. In December 2009, the New Oxford American
Dictionary declared its word of the year to be the verb "unfriend", defined as "To remove someone as a 'friend' on
a social networking site such as Facebook. As in, 'I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had
In early 2010, Openbook was established, an avowed parody (and privacy advocacy) website that enables
text-based searches of those Wall posts that are available to "Everyone", i.e. to everyone on the Internet.
Writers for The Wall Street Journal found in 2010 that Facebook apps were transmitting identifying information to
"dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies". The apps used an HTTP referrer which exposed the
user's identity and sometimes their friends'. Facebook said, "We have taken immediate action to disable all
applications that violate our terms".
In May 2012, the countries with the most Facebook users were:
United States with 157.3 million members
Brazil with 47.0 million members
India with 46.3 million members
Indonesia with 42.2 million members
Mexico with 33.1 million members
All of the above total 309 million members or about 38.6 percent of Facebook's 800 million worldwide
Main article: Criticism of Facebook
Facebook has met with controversies. It has been blocked intermittently in several countries including the
    
People's Republic of China, Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Bangladesh on different
bases. For example, it was banned in many countries of the world on the basis of allowed content judged as anti-
Islamic and containing religious discrimination. It has also been banned at many workplaces to prevent
employees from using it during work hours. The privacy of Facebook users has also been an issue, and the
safety of user accounts has been compromised several times. Facebook has settled a lawsuit regarding claims
over source code and intellectual property. In May 2011 emails were sent to journalists and bloggers making
critical allegations about Google's privacy policies; however it was later discovered that the anti-Google
campaign, conducted by PR giant Burson-Marsteller, was paid for by Facebook in what CNN referred to as "a
new level skullduggery" and which Daily Beast called a "clumsy smear".
In July 2011, German authorities began to discuss the prohibition of events organized on Facebook. The decision
is based on several cases of overcrowding by people not originally invited. In one instance, 1,600 "guests"
attended the 16th birthday party for a Hamburg girl who accidentally posted the invitation for the event as public.
After reports of overcrowding, more than a hundred police were deployed for crowd control. A policeman was
injured and eleven participants were arrested for assault, property damage and resistance to authorities. In
another unexpectedly overcrowded event, 41 young people were arrested and at least 16 injured.
In May 2011, HCL Technologies announced that approximately 50% of British employers had banned Facebook
from the workplace. Facebook has been blamed for lower worker productivity and has been called a national
obsession by anti-Facebook blogs such as Facebook Detox.
A 2011 study in the online journal First Monday, "Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age:
Unintended Consequences of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act," examines how parents consistently
enable children as young as 10 years old to sign up for accounts, directly violating Facebook's policy banning
young visitors. This policy technically allows Facebook to avoid conflicts with the 1998 Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act (COPPA), requiring that minors aged 13 or younger gain explicit parental consent to access
commercial websites. Of the more than 1,000 households surveyed for the study, more than three-quarters
(76%) of parents reported that their child joined Facebook when she was younger than 13, the minimum age in
the site's terms of service. The study notes that, in response to widespread reports of underage users, a
Facebook executive has said that "Facebook removes 20,000 people a day, people who are underage." The
study's authors also note, "Indeed, Facebook takes various measures both to restrict access to children and
delete their accounts if they join." The findings of the study raise questions primarily about the shortcomings of
federal law, but also implicitly continue to raise questions about whether or not Facebook does enough to
publicize its terms of service with respect to minors. Only 53% of parents said they were aware that Facebook
has a minimum signup age; 35% of these parents believe that the minimum age is a site recommendation (not a
condition of site use), or thought the signup age was 16 or 18, and not 13.
In November 2011, several Facebook users reported that their accounts were hacked and their profile pictures
were replaced with pornographic images. For more than a week, users' news feeds were spammed with
pornographic, violent and sexual contents. It has been reported that more than 200,000 accounts in Bangalore,
India were hacked. Facebook has denied the claims, citing that "safety of the users was on the top of their priority
There has been much user discontent over Facebook's mandatory changeover to the new Timeline profile. Some
Facebook users reported discontent with having many Facebook status updates and photos from the past easily
According to a leading counter terrorism expert, terrorists are using Facebook for hiring loners from western
nations like Australia.
In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand
promotions on Facebook. The company began its push by inviting a select group of British advertising leaders
to meet Facebook's top executives at an "influencers' summit" in February 2010. Facebook has now been
involved in campaigns for True Blood, American Idol, and Top Gear. News and media outlets such as the
  
Washington Post, Financial Times and ABC News have used aggregated Facebook fan data to create
various infographics and charts to accompany their articles.
Main articles: Social networking service#Social impact and Social impact of the Internet#Social networking and
Facebook has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways. With its availability on many mobile
devices, Facebook allows users to continuously stay in touch with friends, relatives and other acquaintances
wherever they are in the world, as long as there is access to the Internet. It can also unite people with common
interests and/or beliefs through groups and other pages, and has been known to reunite lost family members and
friends because of the widespread reach of its network. One such reunion was between John Watson and the
daughter he had been seeking for 20 years. They met after Watson found her Facebook profile. Another
father-daughter reunion was between Tony Macnauton and Frances Simpson, who had not seen each other for
nearly 48 years.
Some argue that Facebook is beneficial to one's social life because they can continuously stay in contact with
their friends and relatives, while others say that it can cause increased antisocial tendencies because people are
not directly communicating with each other. Some studies have named Facebook as a source of problems in
relationships. Several news stories have suggested that using Facebook can lead to higher instances of divorce
and infidelity, but the claims have been questioned by other commentators.
The stage at the Facebook – Saint Anselm College debates in 2008.
Facebook's role in the American political process was demonstrated in January 2008, shortly before the New
Hampshire primary, when Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live
feedback about the "back to back" January 5 Republican and Democratic debates. Charles
Gibson moderated both debates, held at the Dana Center for the Humanities at Saint Anselm College. Facebook
users took part in debate groups organized around specific topics, register to vote, and message questions.
ABCNews.com reported in 2012 that the Facebook fanbases of political candidates have relevance for the
election campaign, including:
Allows politicians and campaign organizers to understand the interests and
demographics of their Facebook fanbases, as with Wisdom for Facebook,
to better target their voters.
Provides a means for voters to keep up-to-date on candidates' activities,
such as connecting to the candidates' Facebook Fan Pages.
Unless you get out of Facebook and into someone’s face, you really have not acted.
Thomas L. Friedman, 2012
Over a million people installed the Facebook application "US Politics on Facebook" in order to take part, and the
application measured users' responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates. This debate
showed the broader community what many young students had already experienced: Facebook as a popular and
powerful new way to interact and voice opinions. An article by Michelle Sullivan of Uwire.com illustrates how the
"Facebook effect" has affected youth voting rates, support by youth of political candidates, and general
involvement by the youth population in the 2008 election.
In February 2008, a Facebook group called "One Million Voices Against FARC" organized an event in which
hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
better known as the FARC (from the group's Spanish name). In August 2010, one of North Korea's official
government websites and the official news agency of the country, Uriminzokkiri, joined Facebook.
In 2011 there was a controversial ruling by French government to uphold a 1992 decree which stipulates that
commercial enterprises should not be promoted on news programs. President Nicolas Sarkozy's colleagues have
agreed that it will enforce a law so that the word "Facebook" will not be allowed to be spoken on the television or
on the radio.
In 2011, Facebook filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a political action
committee under the name FB PAC. In an email to The Hill, a spokesman for Facebook said "FB PAC will
give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share
our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make
the world more open and connected."
In popular culture
At age 102, Ivy Bean of Bradford, England joined Facebook in 2008,
making her one of the oldest people ever on Facebook. An inspiration to
other residents of the care home in which she lived, she quickly became
more widely known and several fan pages were made in her honor. She
visited the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah,
in Downing Streetearly in 2010. Some time after creating her Facebook
page, Bean joined Twitter, when she passed the maximum number of
friends allowed by Facebook. She became the oldest person to ever use
the Twitter website. At the time of her death in July 2010, she had 4,962
friends on Facebook and more than 56,000 followers on Twitter. Her death
was widely reported in the media and she received tributes from several
notable media personalities.
American author Ben Mezrich published a book in July 2009 about Mark
Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook, titled The Accidental
Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius,
In response to the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day controversy and the
ban of the website in Pakistan, an Islamic version of the website was
created, called MillatFacebook.
"You Have 0 Friends", an April 2010 episode of the American animated
comedy series, South Park, explicitly parodied Facebook.
The Social Network, a drama film directed by David Fincher about the
founding of Facebook, was released October 1, 2010. The film features
an ensemble cast consisting of Jesse Eisenberg as Mark
Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Justin
Timberlake as Sean Parker, and Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler
Winklevoss. The film was written by Aaron Sorkin and adapted from Ben
Mezrich's 2009 book. The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures. No
staff members of Facebook, including Zuckerberg, were involved with the
project. However, one of Facebook's co-founders, Eduardo Saverin, was a
consultant for Mezrich's book. Mark Zuckerberg has said that The Social
Network is inaccurate.
On May 16, 2011, an Israeli couple named their daughter after the
Facebook "like" feature. They explained that it wasn't to advertise for
Facebook, but because they fancied the meaning behind the word.
In 2012 sammarinese singer Valentina Monetta released a song about
Facebook called The Social Network Song (There is a previous version
called Facebook Uh Oh Oh).
List of social networking websites
List of virtual communities with more than 100 million users
Six degrees of separation
1. ^ An "active user" is defined by Facebook as a user who has visited the
website in the last 30 days.
2. ^ "Monthly growth" is the average percentage growth rate at which the
total number of active users grows each month over the specified period.
3. ^ This value is from an investment document. The date is from when the
document was revealed to the public, not the actual date that the website
reached this many users.
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Miller, Daniel, Tales from Facebook, Polity 2011, ISBN 978-0-7456-5209-2
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