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Facebook’s Popularity And Privacy Policy During The Past Year

Facebook over the past year was the most popular article on Wikipedia, the most searched term in the U.S., and the most criticized social network in terms of privacy policy that involved its recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram.

The world’s largest social networking company was so popular that German Archbishop Robert Zollitsch quipped if Jesus still lives today, he will join both Facebook and micro-blogging platform Twitter.

The past year was a socially good year for Facebook but its business side now reflects the opposite: Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild continues to drop share prices since going public earlier this year, and criticisms over proposed updates to its privacy policies worsen Wall Street figures.

In another perspective, the changes imposed on its data use policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) made Zuckerberg’s sister the latest victim of its hard to adopt privacy terms.

Facebook's Popularity And Privacy Policy During The Past Year

Image: Urs Steiner via Flickr (CC)

Most Viewed Articles on English Wikipedia 2012

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia with over 20 million articles in 280 languages and the largest, widely used, compiled reference in the world, has published details about the most visited articles during the past year.

The digital library’s data, published by Swedish software engineer Johan Gunnarsson, revealed that Facebook perched atop the search list with almost 33 million views, followed by Wiki at second place with more than 29 million views at the time of this writing.

While unified searches account for most of these page visits, it still emphasized how far Facebook influenced the world this year – hardly surprising if we consider the hundreds of millions on its user base.

Most Searched Term in the U.S.

Another unsurprising figure is news about the term ‘Facebook’ as the most searched term within the U.S. in 2012.

Experian, a global information services group with operations in 41 countries, published a report saying that Facebook accounted for a telling 4.13 percent of searches in the U.S. over the past year for a 33 percent increase year-on-year.

Church Goes Social

Facebook and Twitter drew more followers in the millions, including those who at first were reluctant or passive of the social networking sites.

German newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten reported that local Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said in an interview that if only Jesus lived until today, he will join the horde of members on both websites.

Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Pope of the Catholic Chuch, earlier this month joined and verified his Twitter account under the name @Pontifex, and Zollitsch said he will follow suit with a personal Twitter account.

The Pope’s first tweet read, “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”

Instagram Fiasco

Not all of Facebook’s plans during the last year were as smooth as butter, including one that involved photo-sharing service Instagram.

Users went to several channels and lambasted the changes Instagram made after its announcement to sell users’ photos to advertising firms for sponsored content and promotions.

Days after the debacle, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom overturned changes applied on the service’s terms of service, but the site lost almost 25 percent of its users during the period and share prices dropped by 3 percent.

Facebook sealed its acquisition of Instagram on September under loose opposition from government agencies, which eventually gave the deal a green light.

Zuckerberg Private Family Picture Goes Online

Ever since its launch, Facebook has dealt with relentless questions over its privacy terms, and after the proposed changes to its privacy policy, the firm now needs to clarify where it stands.

Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook’s CEO and a former Facebook executive, apparently tried to avoid a privacy debate but failed to do so after a private family picture with her and Mark went online on the social network.

The unexpected, at least for Randi, happened when a friend of her sister (tagged) shared the photo on Twitter, to which Randi replied with a lecture on digital etiquette and human decency.

The photo, tweeted by Callie Schweitzer here, is now offline after Zuckerberg requested @cschweitz to remove it.

After the flip out, critics remarked that other users who experience the same issues will be redirected to Facebook’s privacy rules and reminded of their agreement to the guidelines.

Facebook will also remind users that they can keep accounts and photos private as long as they read through and understand the site’s security settings.

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