Facing up to the social network

Like the Internet in general, Facebook has its good points and bad points
Like the Internet in general, Facebook has its good points and bad points

A frenemy; a friend to be cautious of; more and more of a foe; and a fiendish friend.

n It was launched as The Facebook, a privately-owned social networking site, in 2004.

n It was initially restricted to use for Harvard students, but soon opened to other American colleges.

n Following further investment and popularity, the team behind the site dropped ‘The’ from its name.

n In 2007, Facebook’s estimated value sat at around $15 billion, and it was surpassed in popularity only by big-hitters such as eBay, Google and Amazon.

n In 2009, Facebook was getting even more popular and was receiving more visits per week than Google.

n By 2011, Facebook had 600 million users. By the end of the year, it reached 800 million. Its founder is now a multi-billionaire.

n Last month, Facebook prepared to become a public company. Its value is estimated at between $80 and $100 billion.

n The rags to riches story of Facebook formed the basis of the movie ‘The Social Network’ in 2010.

n The social impact of Facebook is a hot debate.

n Friends and families have been reunited across the world because of Facebook, but some argue that it increases anti-social behaviour like bullying, unwanted attention and even stalking.

n Facebook, along with other social media, has also been blamed for relationship and marriage breakdown. There are claims that some users lie about being in a relationship or use the site to find old flames.

n The cultural impact of Facebook is growing. The word “unfriend”, the act of removing a person from a friendship list, has made the dictionary and, in 2011, the world welcomed babies called ‘Facebook’ and ‘Like’.

n A recent survey claimed a quarter of employers had changed their mind about hiring a candidate after viewing their Facebook page.