Everybody knows (at least 640 million jerks around the world using it at time of writing) what facebook is. they call it social network. But actually it is a sneaky way to collect information without exagerating with paranoid behaviour.
Mark Zuckerberg (who coded the facebook on the internet) is not a genius. actually he's known to be a lame student without a life who didn't even "invent" the facebook. He's more a thief than a genius, later supported by investors who saw in facebook a powerful idea for the market. They then protected him. Of course they didn't do that because of the poor Mark. But just to protect their business. ok stop with obvious. you need to read something cool.
From a social point of view it is strong, indeed. As i wrote in a previous post facebook is the mirror of modern society. I mean, everybody wants to see what others are doing. When the others are her friends, bingo! This is the social dilemma: "am i interested in what my friends are doing, what do they think about something, where are they going next week?" And the answer is yes! If you add their relationship status, political and religious view, photos and messages etcetera etcetera, it's over. They just created what they needed to survive indefinitely.
I am always scared with things that last indefinitely. I am also scared when users become product. There's a kind of conflict of interests in this. But it seems that nobody cares and, you know, the junkie is drug addicted and doesn't care that much that he's going to die soon. He doesn't see it as a problem.
Facebook stores all your data and God knows what they will do with that. Google does that too. But at least it's not that sneaky, plus it provides a service which, you like it or not, is useful. I don't think that knowing the religious belief or the political view of a member on facebook is a positive thing.
Market analysis, becomes a lot easier when you can access the database of 500+ million users talking about almost everything. Data mining is the regular tool they use to inspect data and extract non trivial information and sell it to other companies (apparently very interested).
Moreover social networks are sad. And the "inventor", who didn't invent it, is sad too. He really thinks that facebook is making a better world. Or maybe he's just playing his role to make investors happy of their new toy.
If they really care about communication...why they don't just keep users' data encrypted on their servers?