They say once you post something on the Internet, it stays there forever. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the same happens with Facebook, one of the most important and popular social networks out there. For the average user, the biggest social network is more than just a place to talk with friends and share videos and memes. In fact, the reach of this platform goes beyond simple entertainment, and its influence has taken over more and more spaces unthinkable for a website.
Besides being one of the main digital tools for communication (only behind WhatsApp), Facebook is a space of gatherings that works either as a news platform or as a calendar, photo album, and personal and collective diaries. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and the wish to show the world who you are and how great your life is in order to enter the domains that social media websites master: personal data.
The importance of your friends
At first glance, sharing every aspect of your life with your family and friends through internet seems like a fun idea, but thirteen years after its creation, the social network created by Mark Zuckerberg is far from being naïve.
The importance of having hundreds of "friends" on Facebook goes beyond popularity or an authentic concern for connecting with your loved ones. Nowadays, there isn’t a better showcase than this one.
In economic terms, Facebook is the market dream come true: the possibility of creating efficient and precise publicity is a milestone in Capitalism’s history, and as such, it works by offering exactly what every person wants to see at the moment they wish to see it. The more people joining the near 800 million users, the more efficient the sales window will become; thus, more money for the company. All this is backed up by an unimaginable amount of data with an accuracy level that surpasses the control of governments, international agencies, or institutions.
The power of an algorithm
Have you ever wondered how Facebook suggests people you have only met once? The logical answer is to see if you share a “friend in common”, but, what if you don’t have any coincidences? Not even a match of school, work, friends, city, etc.
This question, has intrigued millions of users, developers, programmers, and informatics activists that work to make of the Internet a safer and more accessible place for the world. Aware of the constant threat of having our personal information stolen and the negative implications this involves (like usurpation, use of banking information, access to images and sensible videos), many have questioned the humongous social network about Internet safety, without a satisfactory answer.
In the "Help" section, the matter is plainly dealt with: “'People you might know' includes Facebook users you might know. We show you those users based on your friends in common, your job and education information, the networks you are in, your imported contacts, and many other factors."
The secret behind this function is the jewel in the social network’s crown, the algorithm that makes Facebook work. Through complex mathematical calculations, the search engine creates "coincidences" and groups users according to what they share in the network. This is based on frequented sites, age range, trips, cultural and commercial interests, and, of course, Facebook's meddling in our linked email accounts.
The power of Facebook nowadays is greater than what everybody can conceive. How much can you do with this monstrous amount of data? Find out some of the consequences of an excessive use of the Internet: Who Gets To See The Nudes You Send On The Internet?