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CNBC special will look at 'Facebook Obsession'

Tonight at 9, in a one-hour special called "The Facebook Obsession," CNBC takes a look at the social media site that has infiltrated many aspects of modern life and whose founding was the subject of a recent feature film, "The Social Network."

The host for the special is NBC News correspondent Lester Holt, who uses the microblogging service Twitter "sparingly" but has yet to create a Facebook presence.

"People have criticized Facebook for privacy issues," Holt says, "but the heart of it is our willingness to share.

"I smile at myself, thinking, 'God, five or six years ago, as a country, we were debating the Patriot Act, Big Brother and listening in on phone calls, and you can forget that. Now we're just giving that away.' "

Facebook, whose founder Mark Zuckerberg was recently named Time magazine's Person of the Year, also offers a worldwide platform of the sort formerly reserved only to book publishers, magazines and newspapers, which bypasses the traditional gatekeepers of media. One could argue blogs also did that, but a Facebook page is exponentially easier to create and find than a blog, and once found, connecting is as easy as a click.

What politician could resist something like that?

The Obama campaign used Facebook effectively -- and successfully -- during the 2008 presidential contest, and the White House continues to employ social media to reach out to voters (and the CNBC special takes a look at that).

Recently former President George W. Bush did a Facebook chat with Zuckerberg, to promote his new book.

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