The Sunday Magazine·The Sunday Edition

Facebook: What's Not to Like? - an Ira Basen documentary

Ira pulls back the curtain on Facebook's phenomenal rise to global domination, and the surprising price we may all pay for it. Are these the dying days of the truly open web?

Here are some startling figures to consider next time you click on Facebook:  there are 1.6 billion active users every month. 100 million hours of video watched and 300 million photos uploaded every day. $5.8 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of more than 50% from the fourth quarter of 2014.

As users migrate in the millions away from desktops to phones and tablets, the 12-year-old social network has solidified its status as the colossus of the online world. And that colossus keeps on getting more colossal. This is the company that has changed the meaning of the word "like".
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (Associated Press)
And there IS much to like about Mark Zuckerberg's creation. But the astonishing size and global power of the company comes with a price - for Facebook lovers and for people who have never spent a second inside its walls. 

Ira Basen pulls back the curtain on Facebook's phenomenal rise to global domination, and the surprising price we may all pay for it. Are these the dying days of the truly open web?

Ira's documentary is called "Facebook: What's Not to Like?" 
Ira Basen


Ira Basen is an award-winning CBC Radio producer, writer and university lecturer.

He was instrumental in the creation of three network programs; The Inside Track (1985), This Morning (1997), and Workology (2001). He produced the six-part series "Spin Cycles", about public relations and the media, and the two-part series "News 2.0", an exploration of news in the age of social media.

He has won numerous awards, including the Canadian Science Writers Association Award, the Canadian Nurses Association Award, the Gabriel Award, and the New York Radio Festivals Award.

Ira has developed several training programs for CBC journalists, including courses on documentary making, "spin", and journalism ethics, as well as a series of webinars on critical thinking.

In the fall of 2012, Ira was the CanWest Fellow in Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario, He is also on the faculty of the Masters in Communications Management program and the Bachelor of Professional Communication program at McMaster University. He also teaches at Ryerson University, and in the Media Studies program at the Scarborough Campus of the University of Toronto.

He is the co-author of the Canadian edition of The Book of Lists (Knopf Canada, 2005).



To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?