File - In this June 7, 2013, file photo, the Facebook "like" symbol is on display on a sign outside the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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Facebook, which began as a social network for college students and the academic community, has experienced exodus before, albeit usually more gradually.Young people have edged away from it in favor of other platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram (the latter two are owned by Facebook now), and many maintain a presence but use it rarely. Internationally, while Facebook remains widespread, insurgent social networks built around messaging, such as Line in Japan and Thailand, WeChat in China and KakaoTalk in South Korea, have supplanted it.But as the granddaddy of the major social networks, Facebook boasts more than 2.2 billion users – nearly 30 percent of the world's population, a community vastly larger than any nation. Still others expressed the perennial wish of Facebook users when confronted with contentious debate: Can't we all just post nice things and stay away from politics? And finally, the payoff question: Will Facebook even let me quit? Is it any wonder, then, that so many people covet the bonds of community – even virtual community – and the reinforcement that accompanies them?
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