Athira Gopinath

STORY OF FACEBOOK OR THE GROWING STAGES OF A SCHOOL BOY TO A TECH GIANT

Facebook is again in hot template after the undercover story aired by Britain’s Channel 4 news which unravel the personal information mining of 87 million users of Facebook by Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, as a political consultancy used that information for campaigning of United States’ Presidential elections in 2016 and the Brexit. This was revealing a shocking reality to the world that privacy is just an imagination in this digital world!

In 2014, Facebook had launched a quiz app that asked Facebook users questions. Once Facebook users used this app and filled out the questionnaire, the app would collect their private personal Facebook information, as well as the information of all their Facebook friends. Their interests, psychological levels, locations, etc. were harvested and channelised to plan which type of psychological election strategy influence the voter, and suggest the appropriate type of fake news to them.

Cambridge Analytica didn’t have authorizations to get this data from these profiles. They ‘stole’ this information. And, they did this to create a system that could target US voters with political advertisements curated to their psychological profile. Facebook allowed this app–and apps like it–to mine millions and millions of their users personal data for years. After this app leaked over peoples information, Facebook did close to nothing to intervene. As Mark Zuckerberg stated in his public apology, “This was breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time.”

Our personal interests taste, even our mood swings too may become a marketing tool for many beneficiaries all over the world without our knowledge. In short, in the corner of the world in our private space what we are doing, what type of news and videos we like, and the activities and our character were getting assessed and watched by a third party. Here comes the importance of security and trust of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook is responsible to protect the security of personal information and keep the trust of every users, on him and his app. Zuckerberg said, “We are committed to vigorously enforce our policies to protect people’s information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this will never happen again.”

When we analyse the history of Facebook, the breach of security would pose as a main hurdle in its growth. We can see both Zuckerberg and Facebook getting matured through experience and age.

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is the Co Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook which has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users as of January 2018. Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year award. In December 2016, Zuckerberg was ranked 10th on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

This is the one line description about 34 year old Mark Zuckerberg on the internet. If we come across Facebook it has 2.2 billion stories to tell their experiences. Yes, 2.2 billion people using Facebook all over the world and it became very much the part of an average technology people. How this app created and its journey to the biggest success is an interesting story.

At the age of tens

What we did at the age of ten? Played games, right? But Zuckerberg created the games! He had a bunch of friends who were artists. They’d come over, draw stuff, and he had build games out of it. Zuckerbergh began using computers and writing software in middle school. His father was the mentor who taught him BASIC Programming. Later he built a software program called ‘ZuckNet’ that allowed all the computers between his father’s dental office to the houses of patients to communicate with each other. It is considered a ‘primitive’ version of AOL’s Instant Messenger, which came out the following year.

At the age of twenties

When he was studying at Harvard University he created a different program called Facemash. The site let the students select the best looking person from a choice of photos. Website visitors can compare two female student pictures side-by-side and let them decide who was hot or not. But after one week, the college shut it down -because its popularity had overwhelmed one of Harvard’s network switches and prevented students from accessing the internet. Additionally many students complained that their photos being used without permission. Zuckerberg was charged by the University administration for the breach of security.

But this setback didn’t dishearten Zuckerberg. He began the homework for a new website -a universal student directory with photos and basic information. An article came in the crimson inspired him a lot. It states that technology needed to create a centralized website is readily available and its benefits are many. In the following semester, on February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched ‘TheFacebook’ from his dormitory. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his roommate and fellow Harvard University student Eduardo Saverin.

‘I remember really vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after -I opened up the first version of Facebook at the time I thought, You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world. But I just never thought that we’d be the ones to help do it. And I think a lot of what it comes down to is we just cared more.’ He later recalled the moments.

The website’s membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and gradually most Universities in the United States and Canada. The company changed ‘ the Facebook.com’ to Facebook.com domain name in 2005 by purchasing it for two lakh dollars. By December 2005, Facebook had 6 million users. Facebook later expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. On December 11, 2005, universities in Australia and New Zealand were added to the Facebook network, bringing its size to 2,000+ colleges and 25,000+ high schools throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Facebook was then opened on September 26, 2006 to everyone aged 13 and older with a valid e-mail address.

In 2007, Facebook created business pages and group pages concepts to promote their brand and business. In 2010, Facebook began to invite users to become beta testers after passing a question and answer based selection process, and a set of Facebook Engineering Puzzles where users would solve computational problems which gave them an opportunity to be hired by Facebook. As of October 2011, over 350 million users accessed Facebook through their mobile phones, accounting for 33% of all Facebook traffic.

On April 24 2014, Facebook and Storyful announced a new feature called FB Newswire. Till the date world witnesses a big leap of Facebook by connecting all over the world and being a significant tool to decide the winner of the election of many countries. It invites people as well as controversies. Its service contribute not only many turning points to the political life of the world, but also economic and environmental life by stand in hand by hand in disaster management of organisations. Anyway within 14 years from its birth, Facebook became the integral part of our day to day life. From a less responsible time passing venture, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook had grown to become the most responsible important multi faceted communication platform which engaged crucial information of people.

Leave a Reply