To many people, Facebook is the internet. It’s open in a browser throughout the day, it could be their home screen, and on average users are connected to 130 “friends” at a time [Facebook: Stats]. However, even with close to 400 million users (11 million in Canada alone) Facebook isn’t on everyone’s friend’s list.
For a bit of background as to why the extraordinarily popular site is seemingly losing momentum, here’s a brief history of Facebook:
February: Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room
December: Facebook reaches nearly 1 million active users
August: The company officially changes its name to Facebook from thefacebook.com
September: Facebook expands to add high school networks
December: Facebook reaches more than 5.5 million active users
August: Facebook and Microsoft form strategic relationship for banner ad syndication
September: Facebook expands registration so anyone can join (not just school networks)
December: Facebook reaches more than 12 million active users
February: Virtual gift shop launches as a feature
March: Facebook reaches over 2 million active Canadian users and 1 million active UK users
July: I wrote a post about why I use Facebook (and you should too)
October: Facebook and Microsoft expand advertising deal to cover international markets; Microsoft takes a $240 million equity stake in Facebook
January: Facebook co-sponsors Presidential Debates with ABC News, Vancouver hosts first Facebook Awards
April: Facebook launches Facebook Chat and releases Translation application to 21 additional languages
August: Facebook reaches over 100 million active users
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada launches the world’s first investigation into Facebook’s scanty privacy safeguards [Globe&Mail]
February: Facebook updates its Term of Service, backlash follows: “Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore. Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. ”
December: Facebook reaches over 350 million active users
February: Facebook reaches over 400 million active users
April: A new privacy setting called “Instant Personalization” was launched. It shares data with non-Facebook websites and it is automatically set to “Allow.” Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and uncheck “Allow”, then repost this to your profile. “Many users take issue with the social network’s now-default opt-out inclusion of its users in new features and services and “How do I delete my Facebook account” has become a top search suggestion on Google.”[ReadWriteWeb]
Quit Facebook Day
When I give presentations about social media for business I usually focus on Twitter and blogs however Facebook always comes up. It’s a great way to connect with millions of users and it’s good to have a presence there. However, in every presentation I have at least two people who were completely unaware about Facebook’s Terms of Service. What you upload to Facebook, belongs to Facebook and they may share your information at will. See: “Shocker: Facebook Does What’s Best for Facebook“.
That being said, many users are rightfully unhappy about the “opt out” information sharing that can now take place on Facebook. This is where “Quit Facebook Day” comes in. Created by Matthew Milan and Joseph Dee they are hoping to organize a mass exodus of users from the platform.
From the campaign’s website:
“Why are we quitting? For us it comes down to two things: fair choices and best intentions. In our view, Facebook doesn’t do a good job in either department. Facebook gives you choices about how to manage your data, but they aren’t fair choices, and while the onus is on the individual to manage these choices, Facebook makes it damn difficult for the average user to understand or manage this. We also don’t think Facebook has much respect for you or your data, especially in the context of the future.”
Still, ReadWriteWeb has us ask ourselves some valid questions:
“And while the sharing of your data sounds quite scary, we have to wonder if this reactionary unchecking is causing some who would otherwise benefit to miss out. After all, are we really all that concerned about Pandora knowing, from the moment we load the site, that we’re huge Weezer fans?”
You may take a look through the updated policy (with changes highlighted) in order to form your own opinion on the matter.