Facebook has changed the landscape of internet usage. It has outperformed other social networking sites in magnetizing people worldwide. With billions of users globally, and new additions on a daily basis, it seems impossible to dethrone this social media giant.
Some incredible numbers about Facebook would compel anyone to get on the bandwagon. More than 1million websites have integrated with Facebook for web promotions. The number of Facebook users around the world is around 1.11 billion. There are 50 million Facebook pages and users on mobile are around 751 million. Looking at these astonishing numbers you may find Facebook a powerful medium of communication. However, if this is what you feel then rethink. Because Facebook was a rising sun, but now would be a setting sun soon. How? Check this piece of information, which would baffle your perception about Facebook.
Facebook –a controversial beginning
Mark Zuckerberg while studying in the Harvard as a sophomore, wrote ‘Facemash’. In this, photos were placed side by side, and users were asked to select the hotter photo. However, to achieve this Mark hacked private dormitory ID images from the protected areas of Harvard’s computer network. Once this was revealed, he faced eviction and was charged from the administration for security breach, violating privacy and copyrights.
This initiative of Zuckerberg gained instant popularity as Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo views within few hours of its start. This inspired him to explore further possibilities. As a result of this, on 4th Feb 2004, he launched “Thefacebook”.
Making money, bothering parents
Though Facebook has been making money through various channels such as ads, games and business promotions, it is giving parents across the globe sleepless nights. Facebook allows creating of an account at the age of 13years, but it is failing in restricting the young generation below 13 from having an account. The young generation finds Facebook enticing and craves to have an account on it. Parents across the globe are having a hard time in restricting their children from using Facebook.
The ads displayed on Facebook pages for dating and other intriguing schemes bother parents, and they are forced to spy their children. Concerns have been raised on child abuse, murder and rape using this medium. It has been reported that almost every day there are cases of bullying students, which lead to psychological harms. Harassment, criticism, bad-mouthing have resulted in severe depression cases. It has also been noticed that parents have been creating fake accounts to keep a track of activities on their children account. Though, Facebook claims of removing 20,000 illegal accounts, still this concern continues to bother parents.
Facebook is a Cash Cow – Just an illusion
Facebook has been acquiring center of attention for its initiatives to step in various businesses. But the value of the company is not determined by the headlines it makes, but with its capability to turn users into a cash flow. As per the recent earning reports, 1 in 10 Facebook users are of no use to an advertiser. Users are either pets (who don’t shop online), fake and duplicate accounts (the only people to friends them is themselves), or a bot (an automated computer program-nil purchasing power).
Pushing users to the advertising cash funnel has always been a challenge for Facebook, as many users have low income (students, teenagers and users from developing countries). The landscape further worsens as attracting advertisers is becoming challenging. According to New York Company (Limited Run), 80% pay per click ads payment was made for clicks from bot, not humans. Further using the term ‘sinking ship’ for Facebook, I would add the growing popularity of mobile devices. More than 750 million people access Facebook using mobile devices. The small screen parameter makes it difficult for businesses to sell ads. Hence the revenue per user is falling. So would you advertise now?
Shares falling down
Facebook’s image worldwide is the fundamental driver of a belief that Facebook shares are booming. However, to be honest it is just a false impression. The shares have been repeatedly experiencing low because of the botched IPO, Limited Run scandal and Facebook phone. Last year in August, the share buyers purchased Facebook stock at $38, but the next day it closed at $20.38. It was the second lowest close with a 46% drop in 12 weeks.
The earnings for Facebook in 2012 were also down by 79% as compared to 2011. Moreover, with legal risks hovering over Facebook due to Limited Run scandal is also hindering Facebook shares. Advertisers are stepping down from partnering Facebook for advertisements. According to researchers, the click through rates for ads on Facebook is low in comparison to other web sites. The rates are as low as 0.05 % to 0.04%.
An illustration: On Google, users click on the advertisement displayed on their search results at an average of 8% (80,000 clicks per million searches). On the other hand, Facebook users click on advertisements at an average of 0.04% (400 clicks per million pages).
Facebook Phone a Disaster
Mark Zuckerberg is always on the forefront of promoting Facebook through various channels, and this time it was by developing a Facebook Phone. Around May last year Facebook Phone rumors went viral. Since then, Facebook Phone was the much-awaited smartphone for Facebook lovers. Earlier this year on April 12, the Phone was launched.
The launch was heart breaking and disappointing for users as it turned out to be an app with advanced features. It was in other words a disaster. The so called phone was an application known as Facebook Home, which was rolled out in the market with HTC first. HTC First with Facebook Home initially was priced at $99, but poor user reviews and criticism forced AT&T to sell it at a price as low as 0.99 cents. The objective of Facebook Phone was to monetize the growing number of Facebook users on Mobile. Instead of creating new revenue streams for the company, the effort proved to be futile and backfired Facebook as a disaster.
Vague privacy policies – Facebook waits till blunders happen
Facebook has been sued several times for taking the security of users just for granted. There have been regular updates from Facebook in terms of their security policy, which has affected users worldwide. There were many instances such as unnecessary exposure to user information, inability to control news -feed and mini-feed, data mining that allowed searching for any person just by the name, inability to voluntarily terminate accounts, the popular Facebook Friend Page, and identity thefts. Facebook appeared to be incapable of addressing these issues.
In November 2011, nearly 200,000 Facebook accounts in Bangalore (India) were hacked. The profile images were replaced by pornographic images. The news feed was spammed by violent, sexual and porn content.
This is just the cover page of the security issues associated with Facebook. In addition to the above-mentioned concerns, Facebook also initiated an illegal move to defame Google. It paid the PR giant Burson-Marsteller to launch an anti-Google campaign by sending false emails to bloggers and journalists about Google’s security flaws. CNN referred to this act of Facebook as “a new level skullduggery” and Daily Beast called it “a clumsy smear”.
Facebook is also responsible for many political riots and political campaigns. Some of the popular one’s are the Colombian protest against the armed forces of Colombia and the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Considering these cases of identity thefts, security breaches and a source of igniting violence, Facebook has been banned intermittently in many Asian countries like, China, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan.
To protest this social media giant Quit Facebook moment was started on 31st May 2010. It was also known as ‘Quit Facebook Day’. This was an online event, in which users decided to quit Facebook. The major driver of this event was security (48%), dissatisfaction (14%), unnecessary friends (13%), and addiction (6%).
There were also many hate groups established by using Facebook group option. Groups such as, Pro-Mafia Group, Rape Is No Joke (RINP), and Trolling.
After reading these facts, stats and cases surrounding Facebook, I am sure you may be baffled. Your perception towards this social media giant would have changed. Facebook today is standing tall with the most number of users worldwide, but it is the hollow image of the tiring invader. No matter, what you use Facebook for, in some or the other manner, the changing rules and policies of this game changing social media giant, it ruining your online presence. It won’t be wrong to say that the brand is ailing, and the future seems to be gloomy and Facebook as a sun may set in the nearing future.