One-Hour Documentary Reported by NBC News Correspondent Lester Holt Premieres on Thursday, January 6th at 9pm ET/PT on CNBC

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., December 17, 2010—With more than half a billion users around the globe, there are more people on Facebook than there are in the entire United States. Presidents and politicians, chatty teens and aging boomers, CEO’s and law enforcement officials, are all using Facebook in ways never anticipated or dreamed possible, helping to turn the social networking site into one of the most audacious and successful enterprises on the planet. The story of the company’s growing reach and influence, with a presence in more than 170 countries and territories, as well as the continuing controversy over its privacy policies, is told in The Facebook Obsession, a CNBC Original reported by NBC News Correspondent Lester Holt, airing on Thursday, January 6th at 9PM ET/PT.

The one-hour documentary chronicles the growth of the nation’s most popular website through its founders, friends, and foes. Holt introduces viewers to a range of Facebook users whose experiences on the site vary greatly. He follows the emotional journey of a young Ohio woman who uses the site to reunite with her biological mother in South Dakota. But some users tell a cautionary tale, like June Talvite-Siple, who turned to her private Facebook page to vent to friends and family about her teaching position, only to find she had unwittingly shared her negative comments with school administrators. She soon found herself unemployed and her 30-year career in education in jeopardy.

Headlines about the privacy controversy continue to challenge Facebook even as the company adjusts its policies to address users’ concerns. Holt explains how the accumulation of vast amounts of anonymous, user-supplied data is leveraged to drive Facebook’s business model; the company sells access to that data, allowing advertisers to reach a remarkably precise and well-targeted audience.

The Facebook Obsession documents the company’s meteoric rise from humble beginnings in a Harvard dorm room, and explores the legal battles between billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss. The former Harvard students claim in an interview with Holt that Zuckerberg “perpetrated a fraud” and stole their idea for a social network. Zuckerberg has denied the claim, but Facebook agreed to pay the Winkelvoss twins millions of dollars in a court settlement. Holt also explores the increasing use of Facebook by politicians, and goes behind the scenes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to profile the first administration in history to deploy a social media team, built around —of course—Facebook.

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Mitch Weitzner is the Senior Executive Producer. Lori Gordon-Logan is Senior Producer. Ray Borelli is the Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.

CNBC’s The Facebook Obsession will re-air on Thursday, January 6th at 10pm ET/PT, Friday, January 7th at 8pm ET, Saturday, January 8th at 7pm ET and Sunday, January 9th at 10pm ET.

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