Week 12: Facebook

Facebook needs time to gather itself and do some damage control before it attempts to expand its scale of business. Currently, Facebook is losing more and more users and it is estimated that more will be following this trend.[1] Maybe this problem could be solved by recruiting new users. Currently, only 10 countries in the entire world block Facebook access and only China has enough financial and social influence for Facebook to be covetous of. Among those countries China is the only country that is a G-20 member and the sheer staggering population of China makes a viable market place for Facebook to come ashore. However, it is unlikely that China will lift its ban on Facebook any soon. The Chinese government is still wary of Facebook as only 5 years ago; Facebook was used as a major tool among activists to communicate with each other during the Ürümqi riots in 2009[2]. Also, China already has a successful social network service called Renren. It is quite similar to Facebook but has strict censorship measures that blocks sensitive phrases such as “Tianmen square”. Also it is very popular and has 31million active users. As China has no particular motive to welcome Facebook, this means that Facebook has to concentrate on its existing pool of users and try to prevent them from leaving them.

People that quit Facebook mainly because of its excessive ads and its weak privacy protection methods.  Facebook is free of annoying pop-up ads but it is full of advertising nevertheless. Ads that clutter the website side bar and ads in the form of Facebook posts strew the newsfeed of Facebook users subtly annoying users. Other forms of popular social network services such as Snapchat, Instagram and Kakao Story are ad free which makes the ads on Facebooks more memorable and annoying. Also certain features of Facebook make it impossible for Facebook users to protect their privacy. There are measures users can take to prevent strangers that aren’t Facebook friends from seeing private posts like most social network services do. But, it is very hard for users to protect their privacy from other users they are already friends with. It is possible for users that are friends with each other to see literally every random post they have commented on, liked, shared without intentionally trying to find out. It is almost as if Facebook has done the stalking for them and displayed it on their newsfeed even though no one asked them to do it. There are no particular options that exist for users to shield their activity from friends. Because of this more and more users are becoming dormant users or either leaving Facebook entirely. If for some miraculous reason China or any other of the 10 countries that have blocked Facebook choose to lift their ban, sooner or later many users will leave Facebook for the same reasons that the rest of the world has. So before Facebook attempts to expand its business, it should tend its weaknesses and upgrade its service and functions in a way that satisfies the frustrations of its existing user pool.

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2544200/Facebook-like-infectious-disease-claim-researchers-say-peaked-lose-80-percent-users-YEAR.html

[2] http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aQui1bZhOva8

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