Facebook Goes Public (We’re Rich, You’re Not!)

On Friday, May 18, 2012, the most famous social networking company in the world went public on Nasdaq.  CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his executive staff (other billionaires and millionaires) were cheering the launch of the company that traded flat on its first day.  Many of us Facebook users were gleeful that FB’s public launch fell short of its vaunted expectations.  Do I like using Facebook?  Yes.  It’s a nice sideline to doing my real work and it’s a useful personal publicity platform but I also like to use it to connect people I like with other people I like.  Example: “Sam, meet Hazel.  You two have a lot in common.  Why don’t you connect?”  This introduction takes seconds in comparison to say, telephone tag.  But here’s my worry.  I know what Facebook is really about because I study it for a living.  Facebook is propaganda.  It is seeking to be the largest advertising vehicle in the world.  It is a pitch-seeking missile.  Everything you click on or like will go through algorithms to determine your consumption impulses and habits.  Facebook is using our innocuous “likes” to turn us into hucksters for X and Y product.  Don’t be fooled.  Just check out how Facebook presents itself on Google Finance:

Facebook, Inc. (Facebook) is engaged in building products to create utility for users, developers, and advertisers. People use Facebook to stay connected with their friends and family, to discover what is going on in the world around them, and to share and express what matters to them to the people they care about. Developers can use the Facebook Platform to build applications and Websites that integrate with Facebook to reach its global network of users and to build personalized and social products. Advertisers can engage with more than 900 million monthly active users (MAUs) on Facebook or subsets of its users based on information they have chosen to share with the Company, such as their age, location, gender, or interests. It offers advertisers a combination of reach, relevance, social context and engagement.

Is Facebook, just like most everything else on the World Wide Web, designed to bring your eyeballs to advertisers?  If so, is it just a slight cost to pay for using Facebook for fun?  Or I am just mad that I don’t own any Facebook shares?



3 thoughts on “Facebook Goes Public (We’re Rich, You’re Not!)

  1. I’m sorry to comment on this article right now, not the time it was posted, but I’ve long wanted to comment on this! I think Facebook is designed to bring your eyeballs to advertisements because those ads do not show up on the center of the screen or the top of the screen. The ads in Facebook just show up on the right side which we don’t have to look at many times. On the right side of the Facebook, there are just the friends’ birthday telling messages. In some other websites, the ads show on the top of the screen or the center of it and it disturbs my reading. However, I was shocked a little bit when I noticed the advertisements are on the Facebook page. At first, I guess they didn’t have them. Also I remember what Mark Zuckerberg said in the movie Social Network. I don’t remember well but he said he didn’t want to have ads because they are not cool. I don’t know whether really Mark Zuckerberg said so, but if this is true, I’m sad. Ads are not cool. And, it gave me another shock that those ads are based on my “likes.” I was scared a little bit because I felt as if Facebook had known everything about me. I’ve never thought that they use algorithms and decide which ads to show up until I read this article.
    Nevertheless, I still love Facebook. This is the only tool to keep in touch with my friends who live in a foreign country. I can know what they are doing now, see some pictures, and chat with them for free. Without Facebook, I can’t even know whether they are alive. If Facebook weren’t invented, many of my friends wouldn’t be my friends anymore.

  2. There are SNS like Myspace, Friendster and Mixi (Japanese SNS) which got enormous before Facebook but then eventually people stopped logging in except for Facebook. Facebook tries so hard to connect one user to another; the more real connections we have on Facebook, the more difficult it is to log off. It is the smart trick they had. CBS News says young people like us have slowed down usage but people over 50 years old are increasing quickly which means families are getting linked.

    Facebook claims that they have 800 million ACTIVE users so that advertisers can reach out to that many people as well. It’s not just the World Wide Web but it’s the most successful World Wide Web SNS. We are like the guinea pigs and the consumers at the same time. I think what we pay for to play with Facebook just for fun is not a slight cost. Our generation grew up with Internet all around us so that we tend to forget how important our information/ID is, but it is not what is supposed to be shared with others like Facebook.

  3. I knew that there were advertisements on the Facebook page on the upper right corner, but recently I noticed that most of them were related to the shops or brands I “like” or the school I go. When I found out that, I felt a little scared because I imagined that information about users was being collected and used to choose advertisements. Numerous people use Facebook, so it must be very effective to put advertisements on Facebook. However, I wonder how many people really pay attention to them. Actually, I do not see them often and my friends also say that they do not care about them and some of them are even annoyed. The timeline itself seems to be a more effective advertisement rather than putting ads on Facebook, since the users’ main attention is on the timeline, not the advertisements. If the ads are on the timeline, users see them (at least headlines of them) as they go down the timeline. Anyway, thanks to the information users put on Facebook, they can do target advertisements and when I think of that I feel like we are being used as “easy targets.”

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