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article imageOp-Ed: The invincible power of Facebook through thick and thin

By Ajit Jha     Nov 8, 2012 in Internet
The power of Facebook is so huge that it rarely fails to make news for good or bad reasons, almost every few days. The recent U.S election provides further evidence of the power of social media with a single post attracting 3.5 million likes on Facebook.
The post on social media captioned “Four more years” with a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama hugging was retweeted more than 700,000 times and shared by 500,000 people on Facebook with 3.5 million likes.
This was the most retweeted post in the history of Twitter, while more than 71.7 million election related posts and comments were made on Facebook in the U.S and 88.7 million around the world. The U.S election emerged as the most talked about event, so far, in 2012. Between Romney and Obama, while Romney was mentioned 4 million times on Facebook through out the day, Obama was mentioned 4.1 million times within an hour between 11 p.m to 12 a.m.
While Facebook can take pride in its power to connect and vent the emotions of millions of people across the world, only days earlier, it was experiencing the worst pangs of humiliation that a technological glitch could inflict.
A message posted to the Hacker News website contained a bug in the form of a search string. When used on Google this search string returned a list of links to 1.32 million Facebook accounts. Clicking on a link could log you into the Facebook account of a member without the need of a password. The technological glitch meant there was a real threat of hundreds of Facebook accounts being exposed to intruders. The exposed accounts, in most cases, belonged to users based in Russia and China.
Facebook security engineer Matt Jones’ explanation was a poor defense of the Facebook flaw that made hundreds of account holders vulnerable: “While we have always had protections on these private links to provide an additional layer of security, we have since disabled their functionality completely and are remedying the accounts of anyone who recently used this feature.”
While Facebook moved swiftly to plug the loophole that exposed the inherent dangers of technologically driven media, the argument that most of the exposed links were already defunct does nothing to address the core issue of security.
However, social media in general and Facebook in particular is today so integral a part of one’s life that security hazards are easily glossed over. Additionally, Facebook is a powerful tool for leaders and citizens alike. Never before in history could information on news and events, from the pure garbage to the profound, reach so many people in so many diverse regions at such speed. While the U.S Presidential election is a globally newsworthy event, how about someone’s missing dog? You never know when a humdrum event from a banana republic might hit the mass consciousness. Facebook has truly empowered just about everyone.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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