By Lauren C. Williams on February 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm
It’s been nearly 10 years since college students first opened their Facebook profiles. And in that time, it has expanded out of college dorms nationwide to a multi-billion dollar juggernaut that connects everything in everyday life. But while Facebook has enriched consumers lives — providing a launchpad for reform and allowing us to keep relationships afloat long after their shelf-life — it has breached privacy boundaries unlike any other technological advancement.
It took months to spread from campus to campus after it first launched at Harvard University a decade ago today. Within weeks of joining, students were connected to lab partners, college and high school classmates and maybe even a few childhood friends. But since those early days, Facebook has been at the center of protests and scandals, sparking political reform or fervent debate around key social issues.
Democracy In Action
Tech-savvy activists have been using social media to both broadcast and organize their reform efforts. Facebook was instrumental in organizing Egypt’s protests against then President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Because of its unique ability to aggregate the internet and the world according to our personal connections, Facebook is essentially “democracy in action, or at least the closest thing we see in our daily lives,” CNN wrote of how Facebook was used in the Tunisian and Egyptian protests. That same year, Taiwanese medical professionals used Facebook to share their concerns about the country’s overcrowded emergency rooms in the wake of Japan’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake that triggered several tsunamis for the island. Reform for Taiwan’s health system was stagnant until the health department’s minister took notice, making rounds to hospitals and scheduling talks to garner more resources to aid them. Facebook’s knack for political and social organization is largely why it’s banned, or severely limited, in several countries, including North Korea, Iran, Cuba and China… MORE