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?