Critical Thinking Media Competence

The effects of Facebook on People and the Society

10 years ago, marked the first appearance of one of the most common and indispensable tools for many people in the world: the social network Facebook. On 04/02/2004, the founder of this social network with his friends were officially launched the social networking service " The Facebook"- the predecessor of Facebook nowaday. Initially, this social network was just a tool helping students at Harvard University keep in touch and make friends, then expanding this supportive function for students at various other universities of the United States and Canada in May 3/2004. Till the mid- 2004, when Sean Parker became the counselor for Mark Zuckerberg, the social network has officially become a tool for users worldwide. They decided to change the name from The Facebook into Facebook. Facebook.com domain name was purchased in 2005 for $ 200,000. By 2007 Facebook was reported to have more than 21 million registered members generating 1.6 billion page views each day (Needham & Company, 2007).Currently, with over one billion users worldwide and continues to grow, Facebook is becoming an indispensable tool for many users in daily life. Various contents are constantly updated on the social network.

The existence of Facebook is currently causing many mixed opinions. It is believed that Fb helps connect and bring people closer to each other. However, others criticize that this social network has destroyed the privacy of individuals. Yet, one can not deny the important role of it in today's life.

A recent study from the university of Michigan has explored the impacts of using FB regularly on human health. The result showed that the amount of time people use FB inversely proportional to the emotions and life satisfaction. It also found that the more frequently we use FB, the more miserable we feel afterwards. Here are what can happen if we spend too much time for this virtual world:

Firstly, FB creates jealousy: Research shows that most people just post positive things on FB. Therefore, spending too much time for the highlight of others can make us feel disgusted with his own life.

Secondly, Fb makes people feel abandoned: obviously, we have a lot of friends and relationships on FB but the can not take us out for lunch or listen to us complaining about a difficult boss. When we spend time on reading interesting activities what other are doing, so sad but true that they do it without you.

Thirdly, FB is turning us into harassing people. There are amount of ones who spend most of their time on FB to read about the "ex-Boyfriend/girlfriend, enemies, people who do not need to pay attention..." It is not strange if they cheer you sunk into the failures of the past and make you become miserable.

Last but not least, posting too many photos negatively impacts real life relationships: which is because many people will not sympathize with those who continually share photos of themselves. In addition, the study named "Tagger's delight?" also pointed out that posting many pictures on the social networking site has reduced the intimacy and closeness in the relationship of friends. This report also said that if you share family photos, you will be able to get much support from the audiences rather than sharing pictures of yourself or your friends themselves.

Facebook has become a part of people’s daily life. Facebook is used by the people of different age groups around the world today. Everyone is so much addicted to it. Formerly it was used just as a means of connecting with friends and family. But today it has a different scope. Most of the students are more into using facebook rather than studying. Many teenagers and youths spend more of their time into facebook rather than doing some recreational things. Moreover it has become a means to find new people making friends and chatting with them. Through facebook people are trying to search their partners as girlfriend or boyfriend. Sometimes this can be risky and dangerous as well because the personality shown in the facebook is not necessarily the true one. Due to which people may face difficulties. One may say facebook is used to connect with existing offline contacts and meet with new people nevertheless, accepting friend requests of people you don’t know or have an idea what their intentions are could have more harm than good.

The other aspect of facebook is the different games it offers to people. There are so many games on facebook through which people entertain themselves. They even forget about other things and continue playing games like candy crush, pet rescue and so on. This can hamper in the daily lives of people. Similarly the photos on the facebook if not kept in privacy can easily be downloaded by anyone and misused.

Considering the open nature of facebook and fact that a lot of Facebookers(facebook users) apply very little or no privacy control on their accounts, Gross and Acquistic(2005) argue that users stand a chance of jeopardising their safety both offline(example stalking) and online( e.g identity theft). Also, a lot of people use facebook as an open ground to fight and rain abuses on both individuals and the government alike.Furthermore, it has become a common ground for spreading rumors, making caricature of other people e.g changing the original  picture through photoshop.

Frank Abagnale who was nicknamed the world's greatest conman, seriously cautioned on the dangers of identity theft and children using Facebook.He gave the example of a creeper virus that allows the tracking of a Facebook user even if their phone is not transmitting. This he said, is one of the many available ways to collect huge amount of personal datas on Facebook.

Another programme, which according to Abagnale is owned by Google, uses facial recognition that can match an individual with their personal information on the social networking website "in just seven seconds".

"If you tell me your date of birth and where you're born [on Facebook] I'm 98% [of the way] to stealing your identity," he said. "Never state your date of birth and where you were born [on personal profiles], otherwise you are saying 'come and steal my identity'."

He also advised Facebook users to never choose a passport-style photograph as a profile picture, and instead use group photographs.

"What [people] say on a Facebook page stays with them," he said. "Every time you say you 'like' or 'don't like' you are telling someone [things like] your sexual orientation, ethnic background, voting record."

He said he has a "tremendous amount of respect" for the UK's privacy laws, which are "way ahead" of the US.

Agreeing to one what Abagnale said, although companies such as Facebook are castigated for privacy issues in the media, it is up to people to take action to keep their data private.

"Your privacy is the only thing you have left," he said. "Don't blame all the other companies – Google, Facebook – you control it. You have to keep control of your own information."

(Rasna Maharjan, Faith Chiamaka Oliver(nicestfaith) & Hoang Yen Nguyen (hoangyennguyen510))