Facebook has been accused of many things. But, alongside the many criticism levelled at it, it has changed the world and has been a tool for change in ways that might boggle your mind. Here are two such examples.

Facebook has been accused of many things. Being a frivolous waste of time that distracts from real life and school work. Being a privacy-breaching “evil” corporation that makes it near impossible to leave once ensnared. Even being company ignorant of the dangers of its own environmental impact – until, that is Greenpeace convinced Facebook to “unfriend” coal and announce its committment to run on renewable energy.

But, alongside the many criticism levelled at Facebook, it has changed the world by connecting 1 billion of its population (officially, as of 2012). As it looks ahead to capture its next billion, onlookers comprehend its impact rather easily. It is a place to connect, re-connect, share cool stuff and follow organisations. But in some rare circumstances, Facebook has been a tool to really change the lives of some of its users, as well as to make scientific endeavour more efficeint and more effective. Reporting such stories is the job of Facebook Stories, whose mandate is to publicise “People using Facebook in extraordinary ways”. Below are two videos depicting two uses of Facebook which are really… extraordinary.

The first tells the story of Mayank Sharma, who after contracting tubercular meningitis emerged from hospital without any memory of ever getting sick – or of the first twenty-seven years of his life. He began messaging the people who came up in Facebook’s “People You May Know” feature to start piecing his life back together.

The next video depicts an ingenious use of Facebook that speaks volumes about its power to effect rapid collaboration. It shows how Oregon State University ichthyologist Brian Sidlauskas led a research expedition into the little-known Cuyuni River region of Guyana in South America where his team documented more than 5,000 fish. But with Guyana’s immigration policies requiring they identify and catalog every specimen they wanted to bring back—a nearly impossible task on their tight schedule – Sidlauskas turned to Facebook. He uploaded his research photos, tagged experts from the scientific community (who happened were his friends) and together they identified almost all of the photos in less than 24 hours.

We can all agree, then. Facebook has its uses.