Zaynah Muthy

We Media ± The modern media is a conversation not a lecture
Facebook is a social networking site which is free to use and anyone with access to the internet can sign up for a Facebook account. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. The main media technologies that Facebook relies on is the Internet and the World Wide Web, and the fact that it is currently available for free. If this changes, it could limit even further the number of users of Facebook. However, it could also be said that Facebook itself is a technology. Facebook is not the first social networking website of its kind, but it is the only one that has taken off and developed so vastly and rapidly. The first recognizable social network site launched in 1997 was called SixDegrees.com and allowed users to create profiles and list their Friends. Since then there have been many others such as Hi5, MySpace, Twitter and Bebo. Facebook started in 2006 and so has been around for almost four years. The main way in which Facebook makes its money is through advertising, but it also makes money if people want to buy gifts for people. Also there are many sponsored groups like Apple, Southwest, Chase, etc.

Free Speech
Facebook promotes Free Speech by allowing users to post and share views, opinions, videos pictures. For example, users constantly update their 'status' and are not restricted on what they can write ± so people can know what people are doing, all the time, at any time.

Another way that Facebook promotes Free speech in terms of ideas is the idea of groups/fan pages. Users can create their own fan pages/groups about something i.e. a hobby or a band in which anyone can simply click the 'Like' or 'Join' button to become a part of that group or society affiliated with that idea. However sometimes the lack of censorship can cause a controversial stir amongst users. There is no hierarchy of Facebook users, everyone (25% of the world) can enjoy the site for free. However, people can pay to advertise their business/company via Facebook.

Institutions ± Big Media
Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room and isn't connected to any Big Media Companies. There have recently been reports of Facebook proposing an initial public offering (IPO), i.e. issue equity shares as stock to investors. However, Zuckerberg stresses that this will not be for a few more years. It can be said that Facebook may compete/annoy big media such as it's rival social networking sites such as MySpace and Twitter which are equally as popular but recent statistics have suggested the following. ‡Facebook now has nearly 100 million more worldwide users than MySpace, which added 4 million new users in December to 125 million total. ‡Facebook, still a private company, is the world¶s default social network. MySpace is still the king in the U.S., but trends suggest that 2009 is its last year on top. By January 2010, at current relative growth rates, Facebook will overtake MySpace as the largest U.S. social network as well.

We Think ± New Media Allows members of society to share and
collaborate faster than ever before. Mass innovation is now more important than Mass Production
Ideas that can be shared via Facebook are limitless. As I have mentioned before, users can create status updates/fan groups depending on their mood/taste/preference etc. Facebook received its first investment of $500,000 in June 2004 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Rumours then came about, about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company. Zuckerberg had already said he did not want to sell the company, and denied rumours In September 2006, serious talks between Facebook and Yahoo! took place concerning acquisition of Facebook, with prices reaching as high as $1 billion. Thiel, by then a board member of Facebook, indicated that Facebook's internal valuation was around $8 billion. On July 17, 2007, Zuckerberg said that selling Facebook was unlikely because he wanted to keep it independent, saying "We're not really looking to sell the company... We're not looking to IPO any time soon. It's just not the core focus of the company." The type of Audience for Facebook is extremely wide. Facebook users can vary from 13 year old adolescents to 60 year old pensioners. 85% of college students use Facebook according to this article. It also claims that since September 2005, Facebook began allowing high school students to join the network, significantly increasing their target market.

We Think - Pro Ams
As I have mentioned before, the main attraction of Facebook is its freedom to collaborate and share ideas in a fast and fun way. Other users can then 'like' or comment on their own or others' activity, which are received via 'notifications' to the user. ‡Things people can share on Facebook are: -Pictures -Videos -Links -Notes -Game scores (i.e. Farmville, Cafe world etc) -Horoscopes -Status updates -Fan pages/groups ‡Also, many websites now work in synchronisation with Facebook to allow publishing or broadcasting on the users' Facebook profile. ‡Furthermore Facebook (like most social networking sites) bases on the idea of 'personalization' ± creating your own profile including a picture and a little information about yourself. Users do not need to be an expert in any sort of field to be able to use Facebook, as everything is seamlessly done by the click of a button.

Open Source
The technology Facebook uses is mainly the Internet and the Web which was created for free by Tim Burners Lee. This means that it is available to anyone with a valid email address and access to an internet connection. However there are aspects of the website which users do have to pay for such as 'coins and cash' on Zynga games (Facebook games applications) and advertising space on the website for a company/business or even a fan group. It is possible for anyone to create a Facebook application, however this is done not through Facebook itself, but via other websites that help the user create and develop the application Here is an example. Here is another example of how users can create their own application ‡Facebook allows users to discuss/share and develop ideas for improving its own tools via the Facebook fan page and blog, in which users can offer and receive feedback on their ideas.

Copyright
‡In what ways does what your company do protect copyright or promote piracy? It can be said that Facebook does not protect copyright and may promote piracy. This is because once something is posted to a users profile i.e. a video clip/picture etc, it is available to view to all of that users' friends -unless they restrict it otherwise. In this way, people can re-link the same video/picture and it spreads. Here is what Facebook says about its copyright issues:
³Facebook is committed to protecting the intellectual property of third parties. On this page, rights holders will find information regarding how to report copyright and other intellectual property infringements by users posting content on our website and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding our policies. If you are a user concerned about the removal of your content, you may file a counter-notice. You can do so through the email notification you received or in the warning at the top of your home page.´

They also state that to report any copyright infringement, users will have to fill out an automated DMCA form. ‡In South Africa, Duane Brady lost his job and faces criminal charges after posting allegedly offensive messages on Facebook. Brady was arrested after his comment was reported to the police. He was charged with Crimen Injuria (criminal offence committed when a person deliberately injures another¶s dignity.) and common assault. Click here to see other legal cases of Facebook ±scroll down to µLocal Cases¶ Facebook does benefit from the copyright freedom of the internet, because it is the basis on which users share and connect content and restrictions on this would limit the creativity and interactivity of Facebook and users will not be happy!

Creative Commons
Since May 2009, creative commons have created their own Creative Commons License Application for Facebook. The users installs the application which allows Facebook users to choose and place a CC license badge on their profile page indicating which license they want their content to be available under. Alongside the badge is text that explains what content (Photos, Videos and Status & Profile text are currently available as options) is licensed. Users also have the option to allow the application to update their status so that news of their license choice will appear in their friends¶ feed. This makes Facebook more effective as it allows users choice and an option for publishing and also provides security for their posted content.

ACCESS Digital Divide (only 25% of the world is online)
‡The digital divide is a growing gap causing problems for not only less financially-abled people but 'techno-phobes'. There are 100 million people actively using Facebook from their just mobile devices every month. ‡Because of the open nature of Facebook, several countries have banned access to it including Syria, China, Iran and Vietnam. During the 2009 election in Iran, the website was banned because of fears that opposition movements were being organized on the website. Access has since been reinstated The Syrian government cited the ban was on the premise that the website promoted attacks on authorities. The government also feared Israeli infiltration of Syrian social networks on Facebook. People do not have to pay for a Facebook account itself, but they will pay for the internet connection in itself. Facebook doesn't offer any grants/have any charities aimed at getting more people connected, but they do promote working charities via applications such as ± Good Samaritan, iRipple, Every Click and Pennies at a Time.

Gate Keeping
‡The spread of information on Facebook is loosely controlled i.e. anyone can publish content at any time. Users can connect (add/message) with anyone so long as their profile remains public. Users have the option of keeping their profile public or private, as well as being able to block specific users from seeing their profile. ‡There are restrictions to use of Facebook if a user has been reported as being abusive, by other users. The abusive user is then blocked from using the website or logging in. This includes Facebook Chat. ‡Information can only be filtered or censored once users report the content as offensive or abusive ± this recently occurred when a user created a controversial group named ³East London's top S**gs´ which exposed explicit pictures of young girls. Facebook was then criticised for taking late action when they banned the admin of the group and removed all the pictures after more than 1000 people had already joined the group. Another similar incident occurred when an Islam phobic group named ³Allah is a paedophile´ was created by unknown users. Many users were appalled by this and knew Facebook would once again take late action, so they decided to hit back and create a counter group called ³BAN µAllah is a paedophile¶ group and it¶s users´ in an attempt to draw Facebook¶s attention. The users were then banned and the group was deleted, however new groups were since then created. This seems like an issue that will always be around.

Free Press
The idea of fan group/pages can be (and has) offered to and used by citizen journalists for the spread of information that could be in the public interest. For example, a magazine or newspaper may have its official fan page in which users can join and will then receive updates straight to their inbox or posted on their news feed regularly.

Furthermore, Journalists are now starting to use Facebook to promote their blog or reach a certain target audience. Click here to read an article about how this happens Social networking sites such as Facebook give way for a new subject area in society to be written about by journalists. Here is an article from the Telegraph about how a father and son were reunited after 37 years due to Facebook.

Marxist Theories of Control?
The main belief/mission/statement of Facebook is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. ‡The main point of view that users represent is the freedom to express what ever their point of view is. Facebook allows a free flow of ideas on its service as ideas come from people themselves and does not enforce a bias. However, it could enforce bias if the users themselves are bias. For example creating an Homophobic fanpage/group These points of view may conflict with other parts of society governments/companies/organisations/religious groups as they will not always be agreed upon. There has been a case where Facebook accidentally revealed personal information of its users. An article and video on this can be found here. An article from the Daily Mail where the CEO of Facebook had allegedly hacked into accounts of rivals and journalists can be found here.

Power Elites
The main challenge Facebook has brought among existing power structures is to smaller social networking sites such as Hi5 and Bebo. Facebook can be seen as the merge of all interesting aspects of the other sites, and can show why it has over powered them all. Facebook may also challenge ideas endorsing the human interest. For example, fanbased websites may no longer be needed since the launch of µFan Pages¶ on Facebook which regularly sends out updates and messages to its members. Updates and messages from rapper µLil Wayne¶ who is currently in Rikers Island jail, can be posted on his Fan Page to Keep members updates and thus ruling out other fan sites. An article suggested that a few years ago Facebook only controlled 30% of the market for social networking and that it has now risen to 84%. The article claims that recent Privacy changes have cost users their personal information being exposed to third parties without offering additional benefits or services.

Internet Neutrality
‡Facebook highly depends on Internet neutrality to be successful. The fact that it is available to anyone at any time for free is its main pull factor. Users like the idea that they can spend how ever long they want on the site and do not have to worry about paying for it. ‡Under the new legislation of the Digital Economy Bill, Facebook (or its users) could potentially be under threat for being banned if posted content breaches infringement rights. The site may also become more dull as it will limit creativity and innovation. ‡Facebook does promote internet neutrality by allowing users to freely post whatever they want, therefore encouraging the idea of free speech etc. It could be said that Facebook may hobby to stop government control but some may argue that government may use Facebook as a valid tool to monitor criminals. This article from the Telegraph talks about how social networking websites such as Facebook could be monitored by the government in an attempt to tackle internet crime and terrorism

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