Facebook has become a worldwide phenomenon and you would be hard pressed to find someone who has not heard of it. Even my pension age mother has heard about Facebook.
Starting just over 8 years ago it has gone from a Harvard campus social network, to having 900 million active users as of April 2012.
Rumoured to be worth more than $100 billion, it is the “American Dream” of Internet start ups.
When it was on a popularity rise, people liked the clean fresh look of Facebook, they liked the fact the CEO wore a hoodie to work and still rented an apartment as he didn’t care about money, he just wanted to make his product better.
But over recent years, the persona of Facebook has started to turn, people are eyeing them, much in the way people eye Google. A huge international company bent on world domination.
What has changed?
A recent article, has highlighted that it is piloting a new initiative which will allow people to pay a few dollars to “Highlight” their messages, making sure it is seen by more friends, stay on the newsfeed longer and hopefully illicit more responses than perhaps a normal message will.
This is a major sidestep for the company, which up until recently had a “Free” to user policy.
Will this policy work?
The idea that I have to pay for my friends to read my status reports to me is abhorrent.
If my updates are not worthy of reading, then either:
- My updates bore people
- They aren’t funny enough
- They aren’t really my friends.
I can understand business, companies, or individuals who have a product to sell wanting to be seen more by users, but friends?
Is this a sign of Facebook starting to get to big for its own boots?
Are they playing with fire? The current public face of the company is diminishing. Could this make it worse?
Or are they simply getting too greedy?
Are Net profits for 2011 of $500Million not enough?
Would you pay money to appear more popular?
I gave up Internet for Lent, to see how I coped and while I missed the internet greatly, I found that I did not miss Facebook.
I did reactivate my account, but find myself not checking that often and in truth only have it active so that I can receive messages from friends, who I would not be in phone or email contact with.
If it was not for that fact, I would not have reactivated my account at all.
I have thought many times since then about deleting it altogether. Targeted adverts, the fact they read my updates to try and sell me more products, the fact that all apps can access your personal information (Really why does a game need access to my personal information?), makes me wonder, will it be the governments that turn us into an Orwellian 1984 scenario,
Or will it be Facebook?