Facebook has been considered as one of the founding fathers of the social media revolution that has taken over society today. Developed by Mark Zuckerberg back in 2004 while studying at Harvard University, Facebook has had to adapt and change over time in an effort to remain current among its users. These are challenges that Facebook has been able to meet, and over the 13 years that Facebook has been in the social media sphere the app has shifted and changed in many ways.
When it was first founded, Facebook was only available to college students studying at Harvard. This was a way for them to connect with each other, but within the year the network of users was growing. The app first expanded to other universities within the Boston area, then to other Ivy League schools around the country, and finally to universities nationwide. It was not until September 2005 that high school students were able to sign up for the site.
Facebook has been a common tool employed by journalists as a means of spreading information. News articles from different outlets fill up news feeds and users are constantly sharing the news with their friends. Many people have cited Facebook as one of their number one sources for news content. This sharing of news has not been without issues. Many users are now facing the problem of deciphering real from fake news. Certain outlets have been developed with the goal in mind to develop fake news to be shared across social media sites in an effort to have these stories spread like wildfire. Facebook has issued warning to its users as to how to decipher real news from fake news. This has has effected on the field of journalism as a whole. Many view online journalism sources as being less credible than they once were simply because users are not able to tell whether or not the stories being posted are factual.
Most recently, Facebook has added in the story feature that has been made popular by social media platforms including Snapchat and Instagram. Facebook users are now able to post their stories to their friends, and journalists are now able to use this as tool to spread information. Facebook has also developed the “Facebook Live” option that has been groundbreaking in users reporting news in real time. Often times citizen journalists are able to post about the things happening around them through Facebook Live, and from there the information is spread. Facebook Live has been used in many different social movements happening around the country including the Black Lives Matter movement. Outlets are also able to post about upcoming issues via Facebook Live. This is something that happens at local magazine, JEZEBEL, on a daily basis. The editor along with special daily guests are able to engage with viewers through real time, and through this they are able to share more about upcoming events or products that will be featured within their issues. These features alone make Facebook an extremely useful tool for journalists.
Source for info and statistics: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/ultimate-history-facebook-infographic