Facebook: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

By Irfan Nugroho
Facebook is an online social networking that was launched first in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg along with his roomates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. People registering for an account on the Facebook can add people as their ‘cyber’ friends as well as establish communication with them via messages or wall-to-wall service.

Facebook is now the biggest social networking website in the world, defeating its older ‘brother’ MySpace and ‘FriendSter.’ With such a fast growing number of Facebookers, Facebook has played significant roles in some phenomena in the real world; they can be either thumbs up or thumbs down.

On the positive side, Facebook does really bring benefits for some people. Just to mention one of them is the case like people could find their ‘lost’ family members via Facebook. June 5th, 2010, a San Bernardino mother whose children were kidnapped 15 years ago was found after making trace-back using Facebook (Msnbc.com, June 5th, 2010). Both of her children, boy and girl, vanished in 1995, and she filed a report soon after they were gone. After tracking them down via Facebook, the mother and her children can now live together.

On the contrary, Facebook has met criticism on a range of issues, especially the privacy of their users, child safety, the use of advertising scripts, data mining, and the inability to terminate accounts without first manually deleting all the content. One big apparent disadvantage of Facebook in Indonesia is that Facebook has driven students to spend less time for studying while they are getting ‘online.’ In some occasions, there was a report saying that an Indonesian young Facebook was kidnapped by unknown person whom she knows via Facebook.

Finally, Facebook has really a number of advantages as well as thousands more disadvantages. People should now be really aware of the phenomena, especially to the cases like the decreasing quality of education amongst Indonesian students and the abusive acts committed via Facebook. Control from either parents and government is badly needed  here at this point in order to keep ‘Facebookers’ keep on the trail.

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