Monday, 25 June 2012

The Beginning of the End for FaceBook

The mask has dropped from the face of FaceBook. Greed has got the better of FaceBook's owners and since the IPO, we've started seeing how the business model now works. That's their prerogative, but it doesn't augur well for the longevity of the company, though.

It started with business pages. It turns out that customers who 'like' a business's page will not automatically see all posts by that business, contrary to what one would expect. Only 8-10% of the business's customers will actually get to see those posts. If a business wants to reach all of its customers, that can of course be arranged. FaceBook wants businesses to 'promote' their posts (on payment of an extra something, of course) to reach all of their customers. That 'extra something' is estimated to be $500 per customer. Sound like greed?

Well, maybe it's reasonable to expect for-profit organisations to pay their way instead of getting a free ride, but now the virus is hitting non-commercial users also. This is probably just a couple of days old. Post something that you think might be of interest to your friends, and FaceBook helpfully suggests that you 'announce' it.

OK, so 'announced' posts are seen by twice as many friends. I see. So applying some rough arithmetic tells me that a regular post will only be made visible to half my friends by default. A slightly more generous proportion than that afforded to businesses. Oh well! Might as well 'announce' it, then. So you click the "Announce" button, and you get this:

Ah, 2.34 GBP so all your friends can see what you have to say. But shouldn't your friends already see what you post? Isn't that the definition of 'friend'?

No, this is the new FaceBook. They reckon they've got enough eyeballs, now they can start gouging (that makes for particularly gruesome imagery).

My prediction? FaceBook will be gone in a year if they don't back-pedal. We like social media, but we don't really need it with the shackles added. Bye-bye, FaceBook!

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