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Facebook turns 11 are we better off?
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It may come as a shock to those who can't remember life before posting selfies, but Facebook is only 11 years old. - photo by Chandra Johnson
It's been just over a decade since Facebook arrived in American lives and changed the way we communicate with the rest of the world.

Since founder Mark Zuckerberg created the site in his Harvard dorm room 11 years ago, Facebook has grown into a media behemoth worth about $211 billion with more than 1 billion users.

That's a lot of development for just 11 years, which begs the question is society better off?

A Google search of the news coverage for the company's anniversary might indicate no, as it rubs shoulders with a stream of research detailing how Facebook use allegedly leads to depression, envy, and, ironically, loneliness.

Last summer's revelations of data manipulations that affected users' emotions only added to a generalized suspicion of the site and it's possible impacts on its users.

"Like a New Urbanist dream neighborhood where every lamppost and shrub seems unnervingly designed to please you, theres a soullessness about the place," the Atlantic's Alexis C. Madrigal wrote last year.

Despite the research and media coverage dedicated to questioning and exploring Facebook's possibly negative impacts, there's also a lot of evidence that Facebook has changed life on Earth for the better.

The Arab Spring might have turned out entirely different without Facebook, Mashable argued.

"Facebook served as a place for rebel leaders to share news, engage in discussion and ultimately recruit others to their cause," Mashable reported last year. "The result was new heads of government in four different countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya."

Take the emotional toll of someone trying to connect with their past roots, such as the New York woman whose life changed when she found her birth mother via Facebook after years of failed attempts.

"How long did it take on Facebook? Two days," CNN reported. "Your odds of finding just about anybody are a heck of a lot better than they were 10 years ago."

With how much the network has changed the world already, it's anyone's guess what the next 11 years hold.
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