So, 500 million members…. That’s a lot of friends. That’s 1 in 13 of the world’s population. If Facebook was a country it would be the third largest in the world. MySpace who??
As Facebook reaches yet another milestone, leaving other social media sites trailing in the dust, one can’t help wondering if Mark Zuckerberg will actually take over the world one day. But no Achilles is without his heel and Facebook – a seemingly unstoppable force in today’s social media-centric world – certainly does come with its weaknesses.
According to Andrew Keen on Newsnight this week, the internet and the real world are one in the same: “The internet is the world. It is a reflection of us and we are a reflection of it. Facebook reflects the changing socio-economic nature of life”. With this in mind, just like real-life relationships and identities seem to have merged with their virtual counterparts, so have some of the more sinister things in life.
When did you last boast in your Facebook status about an upcoming night out, or count down the number of ‘sleeps’ until your amazing two-week holiday in Ibiza? As Twitter’s tagline declares, social media is “without a doubt the best way to share and discover what is happening right now.” Unfortunately, it is also consequently one of the best ways to let the modern generation of social-media savvy burglars know that you’ve left your home empty.
In this way, Facebook and Twitter provide a potential “gold mine” of information for criminals, whilst Foursquare discloses that people are in a specific spot and, more importantly, definitely not at home. A survey found that 12 per cent of burglars said they had used social networking sites to do their research – a figure no doubt fortified by Facebook’s 100 billion hits a day.
As a result, insurance specialists are warning that using Facebook or Twitter ‘could raise your insurance premiums by 10pc‘. Could this be an opportunity for savvy insurance brands to build customer trust with a ‘social media safety’ campaign?
There is always an exception to the rule though… in this case, hapless burglar Jonathan G. Parker, who made the almost unbelievably idiotic mistake of checking his Facebook account on the computer in a house he had broken into, but forgot to log out. If convicted he faces one to 10 years in prison.
Facebook: help or hindrance? Both apparently, if you’re a thieving vagabond…