Facebook recently announced that it has reached a staggering 1 billion active users milestone! Whether or not this figure is real or not is not the issue. The real issue is that Facebook has managed to get a large chunk of the world?s population using its website for ?free?. Does this mean Facebook is your friend?
No doubt you might say think that Facebook is indeed your friend. After all, the online social network offers its tools, technologies, and services at no cost, making it possible for you to setup a page to interact with your friends or business associates.
But make no mistake, despite what you might think Facebook is primarily a business and like every other business, their goal is to make money. Have you ever wondered how it really makes its money? They make money primarily by using the heretofore private information it has collected about you to target advertising.
If you have a business page on Facebook, your page should feature some content that is relevant to the people you are trying to attract. However with its complex EdgeRank algorithm, they make it extremely difficult for your content to reach any signifant amount of persons following your brand. Therefore to ensure that your time and effort in marketing your business on the social network is not wasted, you will sooner than later be tempted to shell out a few bucks to run Facebook ads.
During the process of creating and launching your ad, you come to realise the vast amount of information that the social network has gathered about its users! This vast treasure throve of information has made the platform an advertisers delight because you are able to target your advert to reach the right people at the right time and at the right price. This has therefore made a lot of small business owners to spend considerable amounts of money on ads.
Would you consider paying to make your status updates to reach more of your friends? Well, the social network indicated that they are considering adopting the same tactics for personal posts as well and have even started rolling it out in the USA.
If you decide it isn?t worth it using Facebook any longer, it turns out to be very difficult to leave. It is very easy to ?deactivate? your account, but it?s also almost meaningless as nothing is really ever deleted by deactivation! If you return a year later, your account is still there, with the same password, the same friends and all the same data. This is scary and will make you want to think twice before making your next status update.
Of course, other social network sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc all make use of your information in one way or another. However, Facebook seems to take the brunt of the backlash because of its size. So don?t for a minute think that all of these companies have your best interests in mind. They don?t. They?re businesses. They want your personal information to dangle in front of advertisers. And no, Facebook isn?t inherently evil for not really giving a damn about you. It?s business. What do you think is Facebook your friend?
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