“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life” 1
Facebook is a social networking service, launched by the Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in 2004, that allows you after registering to create your own personal profile. With that profile you can add other users as “friends”, exchange messages with them, post updates and other things to share moments of your life with your friends. With a membership of 1,3 billion users Facebook is the most popular social network.2 But why is facebook so popular?
The main reason why so much people use Facebook is that it is very easy to find people. It doesn’t what kind of people you are searching for, old friends or new interesting people you’ll find it. Another reason is the design. The design is very simple and easy to handle. With one look you can see all the important stuff, like the new status of your best friends, your sisters new holiday photos, if you got a new message or if you forgot someone’s birthday. What Facebook also makes so popular is that you can share the moments of your life with your friends or the whole world and all of them can give their feedback with a “Like” or with a comment. That’s fun for many people. You can also live a complete other life as that you live in the real world. For example in the real world you are very shy and are afraid of say something or you have no real friends, but in the virtual world on Facebook you have more than 500 friends and you comment every photo or status of them and say what you want, either if it’s offensive or it’s flattering. So Facebook is a platform for everybody, that have the desire to present as what they want or what they really are. A other point is the use of advertisement. It is not too excessive or annoying. It is always advertisement on your profile, but no information is hidden by advertisement banner or something similar. The use of advertisement is a reason for companies to use Facebook, too. With Facebook it is easy for the companies to make cheap advertisement for themselves. Also they reach a many people with different ages or different social status. So they can bring their products to all different kinds of people in the society, what maximize the profit of the companies. 3,4
So we can see Facebook has many positive functions that makes it so popular. So where positive things there are negative things, too.
The main problem and what the most critics bewail is the privacy on Facebook. Facebook save all of your personal data. So Facebook knows everything about you that you key in. From your gender till your favourite food, Facebook knows it. That wouldn’t be such a big problem if you know that your data are save by Facebook. But with increasing frequently the data reach people or companies, although you didn’t want that they have your personal data. Either Facebook sold your information or they find it with Google. The privacy settings are partly complex, but it’s important to be concerned with them, so that it is difficult for strangers to know personal information about you. But you should know everything that you post on the internet will be there forever. So you should think strong what information you would publish in the world wide web. 5
But privacy isn’t the only problem that Facebook has. Another problem is that Facebook is very time-wasting. You can be on Facebook for hours, because there are so much things to do. You can read the whole timeline of friends and celebrities, watch videos and photos or for some people play games with your friends. That are all great things, but it can wastes your time and let your real life and work slide6. But with Facebook there are some personal problems, too. Friends could post photos, videos with you or link you in an offensive post very easy without your permission and it is visible to everybody. 7
With ten years Facebook isn’t very old. So most users are children, teenagers or mid-20 till mid-30. The problem here is the correct use of Facebook, because the access is so easy. Many children or teenager are not aware what they do on Facebook and how to represent on it. Some kids post offensive content or dirty photos of other kids/teenager. Because of the big range that people can have on Facebook children are easy marks for radical groups like bullying schoolmates or in the worst case terrorism groups, which can influence your mind set in a bad way. So it is important that young people and maybe the elders learn how to use Facebook in the right way and take steps to protect their privacy.7
These problems are partly that Facebook can fix like the privacy, but other problems like the “time-waste-problem” is a problem that everybody can fix by theirself.
Another point is that it is very complicate to delete his Facebook profile. It doesn’t exist a button with that you easy delete your profile. To delete your profile you have to click through “thousands” of windows till you finally have deleted your profile. It is so complicated that it exist a own website that explain you how to delete your Facebook profile.8
In a view of media competence and critical thinking I think Facebook is a double-edged sword. On the one hand the media competence is one of the best on the internet, because how had they reach the biggest membership of all social networks and got to one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world. But on the other hand you have think very critical about Facebook, but not in a very good way. The sell of private user information for their own profit is actually a reason to delete the account. But the points that it is very annoying to delete it and that all your friends are on Facebook, too and to loose them scares the most of them to delete the profile.
At the end with correct privacy settings and the knowledge how to use and representing myself on Facebook in the right way I would say Facebook is a good thing to stay in touch with his friends, the world and their lives.
1 https://en-gb.facebook.com (25.1.14)
8 http://deletefacebook.com (25.1.14)