Free World Without Facebook Essay Sample
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Imagine a world without Facebook? Imagine what would happen if Facebook is discovered to be the cause of most human troubles today? Would Facebook still be fun? These and other questions need answers in order to realize what Facebook does to human life.
Facebook is a social network, owned and operated by Facebook Inc. It was launched in 2004. Mark Zuckerberg, together with his fellow students, is credited with founding Facebook. Before using the site, a user first registers, creates a personal profile, and requests other users to be friends. The users can, then, exchange information and do a lot of other communication. The ease of communication makes Facebook useful to many people. In February 2012, estimates showed that there were more than 800 million active users (Kazeniac n. pag.). At the launch of Facebook, membership was restricted to students of Harvard University. It gradually expanded to other colleges and later to anyone, aged 13 years and above. Apart from Facebook, other social networking services are Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Badoo, BlackPlanet, Blogster, and Buzznet among many others. In 2009, Kazeniac ranked Facebook as the most popular social network, having the most users in the world (n. pag.). Facebook use has many negative effects on human life. Though many may argue that there is nothing wrong with the use of Facebook, a critical look would reveal that Facebook negatively affects human life.
First of all, Facebook is addictive. Research by Kazeniac has revealed that “75% of active Facebook users are addicted to it” (n. pag). To the user, this may be difficult to realize as Facebook use has become a normal part of him/her life. During weekends, for instance, it is common to find a teenager, say John, sitting in his favorite chair, sipping coffee and browsing on Facebook. John may have 40 new notifications, 10 group invitations, five suggested pages, six cause invitations and twenty friend requests; 15 of which are from unknown people. He has to check out all these new developments since the last time he logged out. In fact, he has developed a habit of accepting all friend requests and invitations to save time for updating his status. Whenever the weather does not allow leaving the house, the Facebook user takes this time to peruse friends’ walls and delete annoying updates and tags on his wall. Consider these demands with the reality that John has been on Facebook for five years. This is a ritual that John does every time he logs into the site. Unknowingly to him, Facebook has become part of his life. If this is not addiction, what is it?
Facebook wastes a lot of time. Time that could have been used to pursue other constructive activities is wasted by “facebooking”. Students have drooped in grades because of spending more time on Facebook than in revising their class work. A worse instance is when both the student and the parent are Facebook addicts. Instead of the parent helping out with homework, he/she is browsing Facebook. As a result, the student forfeits his/her homework to imitate what the parent is doing. The consequence of this is misplaced priorities, which lead to dismal performance in important activities.
Facebook causes security hazards. Let us take the example of Jane, my close relative. Jane, who is 16, was stalked two months ago. She met Jackson Kimberley on Facebook; a friend of Jane’s friend. They started chatting instantly and Jane started trusting Jackson. She revealed to him where she lived and her family details. Unknown to Jane, Jackson started watching her every move. Last Sunday, Jackson attacked her. Jane was lucky not to have been raped, but she suffered physical and psychological trauma. At least, she could identify Jackson as her attacker as he was the only one who knew her every day move; thanks to Facebook! This is only one of the reported cases, arising from Facebook use. How many such incidences go unreported all over the world? One may wonder how intelligent burglars have become; but, in the real sense, the spy is within. Facebook may be the spy, telling on a person to burglars and other enemies.
Facebook has negative psychological effects to users. It has been linked to envy and stress (Swartz n. pag). Envy arises because Facebook users are constantly exposed to positive, yet unrepresentative updates of their peers. Facebook peers will rarely highlight the bad side of their lives; tendencies that can make other users develop negative feelings. This tendency may explain why Facebook is continuously being linked to divorce today. For instance, because of envy, a husband may become suspicious of the many friends’ requests that the wife gets. Such suspicions may accelerate to the point that the couple no longer appreciates the marriage. Stress may arise from the need to be like a friend in terms of success, guilt of offending contacts, fear of missing current updates, and fear of sending messages to wrong contacts. Such stress is not experienced by the individual who is not on Facebook. Indeed, a lot of people that joined Facebook for positive reasons have found themselves immersed in endless psychological troubles.
Facebook allows the spread of inappropriate content about individuals. It is easy to impersonate another individual by creating a Facebook account. Worse still, these identity thefts are most often done for malicious purposes with an intention of hurting the real person. A quick Facebook search of your favorite musician, for instance, Justin Bieber, will most probably reveal five identities each with the same name. It may be very difficult to identify the genuine account of the Justin Bieber. Facebook may also lead to defamation and character assassinations. For example, an individual may create a page and post comments, accusing a former friend of all sorts of crimes. There have been instances, where careers have been destroyed by reckless Facebook posts, like accusations of homosexuality and bigamy. Other Facebook users overtly spread inflammatory information via Facebook. For example, on Facebook, there are pro-mafia groups, racist groups, and pro-terrorism groups to mention but a few. Though these groups are normally terminated once discovered, the damage, already done in the society, may be irreparable.
Facebook invades a person's privacy. Anything done on Facebook may be retrieved by third parties (Swartz n. pag). Security agencies may use Facebook activities to pin down a person with serious accusations. Though this tendency may have positive outcomes in preventing crime, it infringes on a person’s right to privacy. Worse still, a Facebook update may be easily taken out of context or misunderstood by the third party; leading to uncalled suspicion. In addition, Facebook can track users even after logging out of the site. Though this claim is not acknowledged by the terms and conditions of Facebook, research holds it as true (Boyd and Nicole 11). This is a serious breach of privacy, which needs attention. Besides, Facebook, sometimes, censors or blocks information it deems “unfit.” If the information is in a personal account, why should another person choose to remove it?
In conclusion, people should realize and seek to stop the negative aspects of Facebook, discussed above. Those who discover themselves to be Facebook addicts should seek professional assistance of counselors. People should desist from giving out personal information to unknown Facebook users. Facebook administrators should not only revise their privacy policies, but also come up with guidelines to mitigate the psychological troubles brought about by the use of Facebook. Just like most modern day corporate companies, Facebook should ensure the privacy and confidentiality of users. These causes of action are crucial to stop or reduce the negative effects of Facebook in human life. Failure to do this will augment the complications brought about by Facebook.