2012 has not been a great time for Facebook. The year was punctuated by its IPO in May which was the largest in history – valuing the company at over $100 billion at $38 per share – but soon becoming the worst IPO in the past decade as share prices dipped to as low as $17. Chief among the many reasons for its underwhelming performance to date is continuing uncertainty over how it will make money off the its masses, now at one billion and counting.
Earlier this year, Facebook found another avenue – giving the option for Facebook users to sponsor posts to reach a wider audience. Seems fairly hum-ho, until people with Facebook pages started realising that their reach has been declining for some reason and it just so happens that Facebook is there to help them out, for a fee of course. If you’re at all interested in social media or the implications of the digital economy, you have to read this enlightening article. To me, Facebook is engaging in scumbaggery at a very high level.
I’m a fairly optimistic guy and I thought that Facebook would truly be a force for good. In March, I wrote that “[f]or better or worse, Facebook is our new reality. All things considered (and with an eye to my privacy settings), I, for one, welcome our new online overlords.” Now I’m not so sure. When you are a hegemonic power, you can throw your weight around and dictate the terms of play. This might generate short-term gains, it is also a great way to destroy people’s trust and confidence in your friend.
It’s really a sad spectacle watching them floundering around, grasping for the cash spigots.