The Original Facebook

In February 2004 Mr. Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook”, as it was originally known; the name taken from the sheets of paper distributed to freshmen, profiling students and staff. Within 24 hours, 1,200 Harvard students had signed up, and after one month, over half of the undergraduate population had a profile.

The network was promptly extended to other Boston universities, the Ivy League and eventually all US universities. It became Facebook.com in August 2005 after the address was purchased for $200,000. US high schools could sign up from September 2005, then it began to spread worldwide, reaching UK universities the following month.

September 2006, the network was extended beyond educational institutions to anyone with a registered email address. The site remains free to join and makes a profit through advertising revenue. Yahoo and Google are among companies which have expressed interest in a buy-out, with rumored figures of around $2 billion. Mr. Zuckerberg refused to sell.

The site continued to evolve and in 2007, users were able to give gifts to friends, post free classified advertisements and develop their own applications, e.g., graffiti and Scrabble.

The legal case against Facebook dates back to September 2004, when Divya Narendra, and the brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the social-networking site ConnectU, accused Mr. Zuckerberg of copying their ideas and coding. Mr. Zuckerberg had worked as a computer programmer for them when they were all at Harvard before Facebook was created. The case was dismissed due to a technicality in March 2007 but without a ruling.

Criticism of Facebook: stems from the company’s prominence and has led to international media coverage and significant reporting of its legal troubles and the outsize influence it has on the lives and health users and employees, as well on its influence on the way media, specifically news, is reported and distributed. Notable issues include Internet privacy, such as its use of a widespread “like” button on third-party websites tracking users, possible indefinite records of user information, automatic facial recognition software, and its role in the workplace, including employer-employee account disclosure. 

The use of Facebook can have psychological effects, including feelings of jealousy and stress, a lack of attention, and social media addiction, in some cases comparable to drug addiction. 

Facebook’s operations have also received coverage. The company’s electricity usage, tax avoidance, real-name user requirement policies, censorship policies, and its involvement in the United States PRISM Surveillance Program have been highlighted by the media and by critics. Facebook has come under scrutiny for “ignoring” or shirking its responsibility for the content posted on its platform, including copyright and intellectual property infringement, hate speech incitement of rape and terrorism, fake news, Facebook murder, crimes, and violent incidents streamed through its Facebook Live functionality.

The company and its employees have also been subject to litigation cases over the years, with its most prominent case concerning allegations that CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke an oral contract with Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra to build the then named “HarvardConnection.” social network in 2004, instead allegedly opting to steal the idea and code to launch Facebook months before “HarvardConnection” began. The original lawsuit was eventually settled in 2009, with Facebook paying approximately $20 million in cash and 1.25 million shares. A new lawsuit in 2011 was dismissed. Some critics make predictions of Facebook’s end based on the problems which they identify.

Facebook has been banned by several governments for various reasons, including Syria, China, and Iran.

Sources: The Guardian: July 2007; Wikipedia “Criticism of Facebook,” June 2017

The original Facebook is the Bible. Just imagine if everyone was as devoted to the Word of God, as to this social media device. Our world would be a better place.

Jeremiah 29:11-12, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

As I thought about the topic of “Facebook,” I decided to write a poem entitled, “The Original Facebook.”

“The Original Facebook”

Our world is spiraling downward in total disarray

Worldly maladies continue to breed and won’t go away

People succumb to ignorance and human discord, hoping for brighter days

However, God has an explicit plan to follow, but many won’t give Him praise

Social media continues to rob many of their time to know our precious Lord and Savior

If everyone read His Word, it would transform their rebellious behavior

God wants to prepare us for evangelism, so we’ll knock on countless doors.

There may be times; we’re sharing His mighty Word, while scrubbing dirty floors

God created the “original” Facebook, for us to read; as well as, to follow

It’ll improve and impact our lives; for it’s not a bitter pill to swallow

His mighty Word speaks truth to power on how we should behave

Therefore, we must get our “house in order,” before we die and go to the grave

Edward L. Wright (c) 2017

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