The History of Facebook: Part 3


In our previous post, The History of Facebook: Part 2, we continued our series on Facebook with the second part of a three part series on the history of the company.

In this post, we continue on with Part 3 – our third and final look at the history of Facebook.

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The History of Facebook: Part 3

The common thread in Facebook’s growth from 1 million users in 2004 to more than a billion in early 2013 is innovation. The 32 feature introductions and other notable events in this list demonstrate a commitment to improving the Facebook experience for its members. It also demonstrates a kind of clueless­ness about how some features will affect their users as well as a general push to make more and more of members’ data available to the public (more on this in a bit).

It’s clear from the following table, however, that, while market leader MySpace languished, Facebook’s innovation fueled staggering growth in numbers of users and revenue.

Table 8 — Facebook User and Revenue Growth

Date

Users
(millions)

Revenue (millions)

2004

1

2005

5.5

2006

12

$52

2007

50

$150

August 26, 2008

100

$280

April 8, 2009

200

September 15, 2009

300

$800

February 5, 2010

400

July 21, 2010

500

$1,100

Mid-2011

750

$4,050

These are very impressive results, you’ll have to agree. Facebook members must really love the site, right?

Wrong. And far from it. Facebook is the fourth most-hated companys, ranking in the bottom five percent of private companies, and jostling for position with companies from traditional hated industries such as airlines and cable companies.[1] We can speculate as to why, and there are probably many reasons, but we think two major reasons are Facebook’s tendency to make big changes without warning, without asking what their users want, and their steady erosion of their members’ privacy, making more and more of members’ information available to the public by default.

The difference between Facebook’s default privacy settings from 2005, the year after the site debuted, and now is remarkable. Whereas once almost everything was private by default, today almost everything is shared with the world by defaults, according to researcher Matt McKeon.[2]

Over the years, the only two personal details that have remained unexposed to the public Internet by default are your contact information and your birthday. Of course, Facebook enables you to change your privacy settings to prevent the sharing of this information, but doing so can be quite difficult. Facebook has finally gathered all its various privacy controls in one place, but it still can be a bit of a chore to change them all.[3] Be sure you check out these links at the bottom of the page: Applications and Websites and Controlling How You Share. It’s easy to overlook these, but they are very important.

Of course, if you are using Facebook for your enterprise, perhaps you’re not too concerned about privacy. But if you have volunteers or other supports using Facebook on your behalf, and community members connecting with you on Facebook, it’s good to know the facts. We cover setting your privacy settings in the upcoming post Control Your Privacy Settings.

Next up: Why Facebook?


The History of Facebook: Part 3 is the 119th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 323. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

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[1] The 10 Most Hated Companies in America – Yahoo! Finance yhoo.it/YRiqzh

[2] McKeon’s The Evolution of Privacy on Facebookbit.ly/cwpQNq

[3] Facebook’s privacy settings: on.fb.me/bEyk8w

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About Social Media Performance Group

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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One Response to The History of Facebook: Part 3

  1. Dear @MikeEllsworth This public outcry and response is not surprising. The world has turned upside down, where everyone must OPT OUT instead of OPT IN to so many areas of social networking; where people can make claims without substantiation and proof about their relationships with you and other supposed ‘facts.’ FaceBook can manipulate the scene and scenario to their liking, maybe robotically, with little recourse by the user. Even though a person ‘agrees’ to the rules when they sign in (most people don’t read the agreement) they have no idea they give permission for companies to datamine their most personal words, photos, and moments for monetary gain and their own use. On the other hand, individuals now have become suspect, criminals or victimized. Reputations may be destroyed. This is my personal opinion and I make no claim to having a research study behind this comment. People join FB so they can be around all the activity, connect with family and friends, and others in business use it as a marketing tool. It’s possible to live ‘sans’ FB, but social media marketing experts would probably recommend getting your name out there.

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