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Facebook the Sellout: Can we Trust FB Anymore?
In 2005 I found Facebook. This was back when you needed to have a high school invite to get in, which I found odd but okay. I decided to join. Of course, Myspace was still “in” so I did not really pay much attention to Facebook until I tired of Myspace because it became one long music commercial. Early 2006 I started using FB more for my social networking needs.
Facebook did not start out as a business, it started off as a social network. "Facebook was originally not created to be a company," Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook begins his letter to shareholders in the S-1. "It was built to accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected." There weren’t any advertisements, it was simpler, and it felt more free than Myspace even though there was less coding you could do to personalize. Looking around today on FB there is a complete change in what started out - and not for the better most of the time.
In early 2009 Facebook decided to allow businesses to watch everything we do on FB and use it for their marketing research. Along with this, Facebook began to put more and more advertisements in pages until we have what we see today. If I go on FB to post something quickly I see about 7 advertisements, if I click to look at what a friend said I see another 5, and so on. Facebook has cluttered itself up with numerous advertisements constantly asking you to click if you like products, where it used to be nice and clean.
Social Gaming really took off with Facebook. I do not like them myself, but I understand the allure - I have been known to play Words With Friends a bit. However, the thing that really bothers me is I have seen games that ask for real money. This means yet another way that Facebook is trying to get money from customers rather than “accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected.”
I for one was not happy with the Timeline feature. They have slowly been forcing people to change to this format as well. Some people don’t even realize that they are stuck in a timeline format already because there is not much warning. I was switched over to the timeline format without my knowledge and was quite unhappy on discovering this.
When Yahoo! claimed Facebook had infringed on it’s intellectual property, Facebook responded with a counter-suit saying it was Yahoo! who was infringing instead, and began to buy millions in intellectual property patents. $550 Million in patents from Microsoft and then 750 patents at an undisclosed rate from IBM, and some amount from Verizon. It looks rather fishy to be blamed for infringing then point at the other person and buy a huge amount of patents, it makes it look like trying to cover up. Yahoo! countered with some more infringement claims and we won’t know what the courts will say yet.
Though Facebook claims to be a social network at heart, it seems to have deleted the services that people liked, such as private bloggers, discussions, RSS, etc.
Currently FB is working on a service where when you read an article it posts what you read on Facebook whether you wanted or not. There are ways to turn it off, and you can stop it from posting, but I find it an invasion of privacy. If it can do that without asking, what other information is it gathering about me while I am logged in? What information is it able to sell that it really has no right to?
Facebook can log anything you see that has a “Like” button on it. Also, logging out doesn’t help. Facebook has cookies that log what user you are and follow your other cookies until you delete them.
Also, did you know the ToS makes it so anything you put on Facebook is theirs now?
Zuckerberg - Sweaty and Nervious When Asked About Privacy
Its Raining Money in Here
In the last quarter alone, Facebook raked in more $1 billion in revenue, almost entirely from advertising. Is it a wonder the amount of advertising has gone through the roof? Though I still use - and mostly enjoy - Facebook, it is starting to wear on me. With more and more new ‘services’ it offers that are just underhanded ways of getting a revenue flow I feel like I can trust the site less and less, especially when I know they are logging every click I make on Facebook or any other site that happens to be allied with it. CNet estimates FB’s value as a company now at 100 Billion dollars. With the vast amount of businesses wanting advertising with them, the games sector gaining money through players, and the new services that seemingly spy on me I find myself with a lot of thinking to do as I continue to use my favorite social networking site.