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Facebook the Sellout: Can we Trust FB Anymore?

Updated on April 23, 2014
Facebook App Icon
Facebook App Icon

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.

Advertising

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.

Games

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.”

'New' Timeline Format
'New' Timeline Format

Formatting

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.

Questionable Practices

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.

New “Services”

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.

Does Facebook's Privacy Infringement Bother You?

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    • johnnydiablo profile image

      johnnydiablo 5 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      Facebook has been terrible about privacy issues for years now, yet it continues to grow larger. People will follow their friends wherever they go. When everyone jumped from MySpace to Facebook, Zuck and company reaped the rewards. Facebook's advertising business model is one that they copied directly from Google, but if you are an advertiser, you can target your audience more precisely, but few people realize how their every online move is tracked, or they simply just don't care. I can see Facebook eventually headed for the same fall from grace that killed MySpace dead, but it's going to take a good alternative to do it. I don't see Google+ being that alternative, and other sites like Diaspora haven't gained enough traction to be on people's radar yet. If an alternative site gets large enough to tip the scales of users, perhaps Facebook will go the way of the dinosaur, but for now it remains ubiquitous in our online culture.

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Google+ tried to be the next Facebook from Myspace transfer, but failed horribly... I think Google+ is a ghost town.

      I really like what Facebook is in essence, just wish it weren't making billions off of us and going against the community constantly.

    • Annieq profile image

      Annieq 5 years ago from Birmingham, Alabama

      Good hub. Used to like facebook but now Im uncomfortable with it. I just stay for all the fun games.

    • profile image

      Tom 5 years ago

      Will never use FB and G+ is not a ghost town.

    • profile image

      Jonathan 5 years ago

      Facebook is the tech equivalent of a black hole. They are dangerous. Nothing about them makes the world more open, no they are simply taking user's private data and selling it however they can. They've had virtually no innovation compared to their revenue. They've repeatedly abused the privacy of their users.

      I've never trusted them, I block their servers, and tell everyone who has half a brain to avoid them entirely. Caustic, sociopathic asshats, all of them.

    • profile image

      anonyduh 5 years ago

      Anymore? Facebook is a company. Anybody who trusts a company deserves exactly what they get.

    • profile image

      anon123 5 years ago

      Anymore? Thanks for the good laugh my friend.

    • profile image

      Matt P 5 years ago

      They're not a charity, what do you expect for free?

    • profile image

      FletchJustin 5 years ago

      I see zero adds on Google+

    • profile image

      Mike 5 years ago

      It still states in the terms that "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings." ... Where does it say that Facebook owns everything you post? Is that going on the next revision, or did I read all that wrong...?

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      @Mike - You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

    • profile image

      danny 5 years ago

      what about youtube

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Youtube was bought by Google, so I think that Google probably uses all the gathered information for advertisers. Google just put all their ToS down into one condensed one, so I think of it as an umbrella company now.

    • cepheid profile image

      cepheid 3 years ago from Estonia

      That's why I've stopped using FB. .

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