Facebook status? It’s complicated

Has Facebook peaked? Its users are bailing out, there are concerns over privacy and even murmurs that it’s going the way of MySpace. But the death of the social network that changed the world is greatly exaggerated.If one is to believe Bill Gates – and who wouldn’t? – we ought to offer our congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg on his engagement to long-term girlfriend Priscilla Chan. Strange that we got no relationship status update from him, no little heart icon, but we will let it pass, and wish them well. If you’re a Facebook investor, though, perhaps you might worry just a little bit. For we have also just learnt that Facebook’s growth has stalled in its biggest territories and user numbers have gone into reverse in the US and Britain. If Zuckerberg is taking his eye off the ball, perhaps he is not alone. At some point we all have to get our heads out of cyberspace and focus on our real-life relationships. Is that what is happening?The criticism of Facebook is piling up. Hardly a day goes by without the discovery of some new privacy concern, from an outcry over its adoption of face-recognition technology as standard in Europe to political speechifying against the amount of information it has amassed on us (thanks to us voluntarily handing it over). Add these to the nagging doubts we have always had about our addiction to the service. Why am I poking this person? Should I have something better to do than throwing digital sheep? Would I be more productive at work if I didn’t click on so many videos of kittens? Is Facebook the equivalent of throwing acid on my brain and watching my attention span slowly dissolve?

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