From relationships to revolutions: seven ways Facebook has changed the world

Excerpt from this article:

On Monday [August 24], one in seven people on Earth used Facebook – 1 billion people, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg. In a decade, the social network has transformed people’s relationships, privacy, their businesses, the news media, helped topple regimes and even changed the meaning of everyday words.

…These are just some of the ways his company changed everything – for better or worse.

Facebook has changed the definition of “friend”

“To friend” is now a verb. And unlike real life when the ending of a friendship can be deeply traumatic, it is easy to “de-friend”, a word invented to describe ditching a casual acquaintance when they are no longer enhancing your Facebook newsfeed.

Although the meaning of the words “share” and “like” are essentially the same, Facebook has brought an entirely new weight to the terms.

High school and university reunions have become redundant – you already know whose career is going well, whether the perfect pair have split and you’ve seen endless pictures of your schoolmates’ babies. You won’t be surprised by an ex in the street with a new girlfriend or boyfriend: you already know they’re dating someone else from the romantic selfies.

But unlike in real life, Facebook has no hierarchy of friendships. A classmate from one project at university who you haven’t seen in 15 years, a friend-of-a-friend from a stag do, or a colleague you’ve never actually spoken to in person – they are all Facebook friends in the same way as your closest mate, or your spouse, or your mum.

We care less about privacy

Political parties who focus on Facebook win

Facebook has been the tool to organise revolutions

Facebook makes news, breaks news, and decides what is news

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