Oh, the Humanity

Will Facebook's shift toward data sacrifice its soul?

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In the beginning--which was February 2004--Facebook was nothing fancy. Mark Zuckerberg hacked together a website that let his Harvard classmates share basic facts about themselves with friends. They found his creation addictive. So did other Ivy League students. So do the more than 800 million active members who have since joined, making Facebook by far the planet's largest social network.

Of course, the Facebook of 2011 bears scant resemblance to the one Zuck whipped up less than eight years ago. It's not just that it incorporates everything from photos to games to video calls to local shopping. Thanks to features such...

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