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Our Little Facebook is Growing Up, Part II
By: Jeff Louis
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Young as Facebook is, it has had fisticuffs with churches, irate parents, and even the ACLU. Surprisingly, the little Facebook That Could has fought some big lawsuits and walked away unscathed, emerging from lawsuits over privacy, freedom of speech, breast feeding, and data compromises to find that it'd gone on growing. This is my Reason 1 for writing a Facebook post. Reason 2 is the hypothetical, yet plausible, role the site is expected to play in world events (we witnessed the Democratic Elections in Iran), corporate integration for employee screening, and lucrative advertising capabilities.

Not even the company's billionaire-CEO could have predicted the site's popularity, or foreseen that it would turn into the hottest, privately-owned company online. The user-base is slowly overtaking the US population, which as of this writing, was nearly 308 billion. Yes, Facebook is about to tip, as evidenced by the amount of attention garnered about the future implications of the site rather than site itself. For instance, if you're looking for a job, better clean up your page. According to Harris Interactive and CareerBuilder, and reported by Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable:

* 45% of them use social networking sites to research job candidates
* 11% plan to implement social media screening in the very near future
* 35% of employers reported they found content on social sites that led them not hire a candidate
* 53% cited provocative photos or information as a reason for not employing a prospect
* 44% of the surveyed HR professionals tossed people that referenced drug or alcohol use
* 35% of the panel stopped short of hiring people that dissed former employers
* 14% of employers seem to hate emoticons, disregarding those that used them

Facebook is embedding itself into our culture, representing social media's true coming of age. The largest indicator is the fact that future ramifications of site monitoring by clandestine agencies in both the United States and European Union is being reported by various sources. The pressure is on to establish a method to monitor social media.
Wikileaks, a site about leaked info, wrote about rumors that were soon confirmed regarding US and European Union efforts to create a "Social Media Surveillance" system. Although a times a bit kooky, the author of Wikileaks reports:

* Wired revealed in April that the FBI is routinely monitoring cell phone calls and internet activity during criminal and counterterrorism investigations. (I always assumed that this was the case...)
* New Scientist reported (in 2006) that the National Security Agency "is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks." (McCarthy?)
* And just this week, a report published by the British tech pub, The Register, revealed that "the government has outsourced parts of its biggest mass surveillance project to the disaster-prone IT service giant formerly known as EDS."
* An exclusive published by Wired, e relays that the CIA's investment arm, In-Q-Tel, "wants to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates and even check out your book reviews on Amazon."

I'm not sure if I should be saying "finally" or "oh no!" Yet, with the terrorists' ability to turn our own technology against us, maybe it's a good idea that some one is listening.

As for Facebook and measuring the site's success: once your blip shows up on the radar for the CIA, FBI, DEA and EU, you can rest assured that you've become interwoven with the world.




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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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