In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand promotions on Facebook. The company began its push by inviting a select group of British advertising leaders to meet Facebook's top executives at an "influencers' summit" in February 2010. Facebook has now been involved in campaigns for True Blood, American Idol, and Top Gear. News and media outlets such as the Washington Post, Financial Times and ABC News have used aggregated Facebook fan data to create various infographics and charts to accompany their articles.
Facebook has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways. With its availability on many mobile devices, Facebook allows users to continuously stay in touch with friends, relatives and other acquaintances wherever they are in the world, as long as there is access to the Internet. It can also unite people with common interests and/or beliefs through groups and other pages, and has been known to reunite lost family members and friends because of the widespread reach of its network. One such reunion was between John Watson and the daughter he had been seeking for 20 years. They met after Watson found her Facebook profile. Another father-daughter reunion was between Tony Macnauton and Frances Simpson, who had not seen each other for nearly 48 years.
Some argue that Facebook is beneficial to one's social life because they can continuously stay in contact with their friends and relatives, while others say that it can cause increased antisocial tendencies because people are not directly communicating with each other. Some studies have named Facebook as a source of problems in relationships. Several news stories have suggested that using Facebook can lead to higher instances of divorce and infidelity, but the claims have been questioned by other commentators.
Impact on philanthropy
The idea of facilitating interaction between individuals via a web platform connecting user-generated profile pages has been taken beyond social networking, notably by person-to-person charities, which allow individuals to contribute small amounts to charitable projects for other individuals. Kiva pioneered the application of this concept to microfinance in 2005, offering the first web-based service to publish individual microfinance loan profiles for funding. Kiva raises funds for local intermediary microfinance organizations which post stories and updates on behalf of the borrowers. Lenders can contribute as little as $25 to loans of their choice, and receive their money back as borrowers repay. A similar web-based microfinance funding platform that focuses on China, Wokai, brands itself as a "Facebook for Farmers".However, unlike Facebook, Kiva and Wokai do not enable direct communication between their members.
The recent spread of cheap internet access in developing countries has made genuine international person-to-person philanthropy increasingly feasible. In 2009 the US-based nonprofit Zidisha tapped into this trend to offer the first person-to-person microfinance platform to link lenders and borrowers across international borders without intermediaries. Inspired by both Facebook and eBay, Zidisha facilitates direct dialogue and microlending transactions between individual web users worldwide and computer-literate, low-income entrepreneurs in developing countries. Zidisha members can fund loans for as little as a dollar, which the borrowers then use to develop business activities that improve their families' incomes while repaying loans to the members with interest. As with Facebook, Zidisha borrowers create their own profile pages through which they share photos and information about themselves and their businesses. A feature similar to the Wall on Facebook profiles allows borrowers to dialogue directly with lenders via comments posted on their profile pages. This direct person-to-person connection modeled after Facebook's social networking functionality allows Zidisha members themselves to take on many of the communication and recording tasks traditionally performed by local organizations, dramatically reducing the cost of microfinance services to the entrepreneurs
Facebook's role in the American political process was demonstrated in January 2008, shortly before the New Hampshire primary, when Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live feedback about the "back to back" January 5 Republican and Democratic debates.Charles Gibson moderated both debates, held at the Dana Center for the Humanities at Saint Anselm College. Facebook users took part in debate groups organized around specific topics, register to vote, and message questions.
ABCNews.com reported in 2012 that the Facebook fanbases of political candidates have relevance for the election campaign, including:
Allows politicians and campaign organizers to understand the interests and demographics of their Facebook fanbases, as with Wisdom for Facebook, to better target their voters.
Provides a means for voters to keep up-to-date on candidates' activities, such as connecting to the candidates' Facebook Fan Pages.
Over a million people installed the Facebook application "US Politics on Facebook" in order to take part, and the application measured users' responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates.This debate showed the broader community what many young students had already experienced: Facebook as a popular and powerful new way to interact and voice opinions. An article by Michelle Sullivan of Uwire.com illustrates how the "Facebook effect" has affected youth voting rates, support by youth of political candidates, and general involvement by the youth population in the 2008 election.
In February 2008, a Facebook group called "One Million Voices Against FARC" organized an event in which hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC (from the group's Spanish name). In August 2010, one of North Korea's official government Web sites and the official news agency of the country, Uriminzokkiri, joined Facebook.
In 2011 there was a controversial ruling by French government to uphold a 1992 decree which stipulates that commercial enterprises should not be promoted on news programs. President Nicolas Sarkozy's colleagues have agreed that it will enforce a law so that the word "Facebook" will not be allowed to be spoken on the television or on the radio.
In 2011, Facebook filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a political action committee under the name FB PAC. In an email to The Hill, a spokesman for Facebook said "FB PAC will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."