An comprehensive look into how the Internet phenomenon began.
Started by three kids in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook now boasts over 800 million users and affects society in ways many people haven’t realized. This CNBC Original documentary delivers a comprehensive look at how the Internet phenomenon began, evolved, and now influences everyday life—or, in some cases, not-so-ordinary life.
Featuring case studies of events prompted by Facebook, including an account of a girl reunited with her birth mother as well as a woman who lost her job due to online postings, the program explores the intense privacy debate that Facebook has provoked while shedding light on the ubiquitous appeal of the Facebook profile—a template of self-expression deployed (in diverse ways) from your local police station to the White House.
1. Introduction: The Facebook Obsession Globally, there are more people on Facebook than the entire US population. It has taken hold of almost every aspect of everyday life. No one knows what Facebook will ultimately do with its data.
2. In Search of Birth Mother Through Facebook A teenager uses Facebook to find her biological mother. The quest takes an intermediary who solved the problem within 24 hours. The teen does not reveal who she is when visits her biological mother's Facebook page.
3. Birthmother and Daughter Unite Kerry, a teen in quest of her birth mother, takes a road trip with her adoptive parents to South Dakota. She will meet her birth mother for the first time since infancy. Mother and daughter meet. They swear to be best friends for the rest of their lives.
4. Hollywood's "The Social Network" Hollywood debuts a film called "The Social Network." Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announces on Oprah Winfrey's show that he is putting up a $100 million challenge fund for education.
5. Facebook Launch: Was There Fraud? After Zuckerberg and his two roommates created a website at Harvard that contained all the students' pictures, they got in trouble with the administration. A few months later, this team launched Facebook. Another team accuses Zuckerberg of stealing their idea.
6. Facebook: National Television Debut Zuckerberg made his national television debut when he introduced Facebook on CNBC. Sean Parker, creator of Napster, became the first president of Facebook. Offers to buy Facebook started coming in. Zuckerberg refused to sell to any of them.
7. Facebook: Utility, Not Entertainment Zuckerberg remains in control of Facebook. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow in from investors. He says Facebook is a utility for people to understand their world. Facebook is valued at $50 billion.
8. Privacy Concerns A 56-year-old teacher relates the disastrous experiences after she vented about her students and her job on Facebook. She thought her comments were going only to friends and family. She was asked to resign.
9. Facebook's Major Innovation In 2010, Zuckerberg introduced Open Graph. Many users objected to making more public what used to be private information. A Facebook protest website was launched in reaction to these complaints. Facebook does not make deactivation easy.
10. Data Gathering Facebook has an enormous amount of information about its users. It collects more every day. The data team manager says this tracking is about why people sign up, why people deactivate, and more. They track what their users are looking at outside Facebook.
11. Targeted Marketing The lifeblood of Facebook is the accumulated data that users give voluntarily. Individuals can also refine the audiences they wish to target, say with a new book. Instantly an advertisement is sent to millions or thousands or hundreds of people.
12. Profiting from Personal Information Facebook claims it does not divulge personal information, just anonymous demographic data. Recently, it was uncovered that third party developers of some of its applications had been selling personal user data to advertisers.
13. Obama: The Facebook Election Some people call Obama's election the Facebook election. Barack Obama's senate team approached Facebook about setting up an online presence. Facebook's Chris Hughes went to work for Obama. The results were unprecedented.
14. Facebook: Political Impact The White House has its own Facebook page. A team of workers is dedicated to social media. Input from over 17 million White House "friends" is valuable to the policy-making process. Facebook has political impact in many countries.
15. "The Facebook Effect" Author David Kirkpatrick has chronicled Facebook's growing influence in the world. About 70% of users are out of the U.S. in 170 countries and territories. One of Facebook's most challenging tasks will be Facebook's attempt to enter China.
16. New Way to Fight Crime In Taos, New Mexico, police use Facebook to track criminals and solve crimes.
17. Facebook, Business, and Mark Zuckerberg Today, more than a million businesses are on Facebook. Zuckerberg can't escape his past, as instant messages from his days at Harvard surface. He doesn't like the public-facing role. Facebook has altered the meaning of friendship.
Grade: 6-8, 9-12
The Facebook Obsession (DVD)
Time: 44 Minutes