College-room project that turned into a global phenomenon – Facebook hits the 500 million users mark

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Facebook announced that it now has 500 million users which means (according to The Guardian) that a whopping 43 per cent of Brits are regularly logging on. You can’t argue with that!

We all remember Rage Against the Machine beating X-Factor’s latest hopeful (it was that Joe guy, right?) to the Christmas number one, all thanks to the power of Facebook. More recently, BBC 6 Music was saved from the chop after a dedicated Facebook and Twitter campaign to save the station.

Based on these facts, is it any wonder then that PM David Cameron is now trying to get Facebook users on his side? Recently, Number 10 released a conference call between Cameron and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, where Cameron asks for Facebook users to suggest ways in which the government can cut the deficit. Like many of the government’s social media attempts, this latest stunt has received backlash with the video being labelled as ‘insincere’ and scoring zero cool points for the PM.

Is jumping on the Facebook bandwagon really going to make people more interested in politics? The problem the government faces is engaging people and getting them to buy-in. If people wanted to spend their time on Facebook telling the Prime Minister how to run the country, surely they would have stood for Parliament themselves? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of the government making decisions based on suggestions from the same people who joined the Facebook group “For those who have ever pushed a “pull” door.”