Is Facebook sliding into the gutter of manipulation?
Yes, it got off to a good start. A bright university student in the US, named Mark Zuckerberg, put together a computer programme to launch Facebook in 2004 as a supportive social network site for people worldwide. A good initiative.
All is not well despite 960 million subscribers. Since launching Facebook on the stock market a couple of months ago, Facebook’s stock price has slumped more than 47% hitting around $20 with even the first wave of company insiders exercising their options to sell their personal stock.
The frenzy of the big shareholders who thought they would make a fortune out of us on Facebook has turned to massive selling off to recover their losses as much as possible
Facebook needs to sit up and take notice that vast majority of us on Facebook have little interest or not interest at all in advertising and business promotions. We are only interested in Facebook as a tool for social networking.
A BBC investigation suggests companies are wasting large sums of money on adverts to gain “likes” from Facebook members who have no real interest in their products. It is has been found that more than 80% of the clicks on ads on Facebook came from fake users.
Facebook now appears to shift away from the original vision in 2004 of a helpful social network site. They want to turn us into consumers of the products on their site. Facebook is exploring ways to squeeze out of us as much interest and money as possible to stop the rapid drop in share prices as shareholders, including their own staff, sell their shares and get out.
What’s the quickest way for a company to make easy money?
Facebook has agreed to allow gambling on the network in the UK for the first time. It will be called Friendzy. Yuck!!!
Friendzy, part of an online gambling company based in London, will target Facebook friends, aged 18 years or over, to enable them to gamble away their money. We can soon rename Facebook as Facetook.
It is just the first step to persuade us, as FF, to start betting, use virtual slot machines, as well as gambling for cash prizes. Facebook sees this first step as a money spinner for themselves and shareholders. Facebook will take a 30% cut from such gambling on our social network site in the UK.
Friendzy sees us who use Facebook as an opportunity to get a whole new audience involved in gambling.
I have around 4700 Facebook Friends (actually mostly FC – Facebook contacts). I signed up to Facebook in 2007. I check in on Facebook about once a week. It used to be once a day. I notice that the number of Like, Comments and Shares beneath each posting gets less and less, year by year. It is not just what I post (mostly from my blog) but postings from many other Friends as well have few responses.
This shows a real diminishing of interest in regular users of Facebook. The novelty wears off. Quite a few friends have cancelled their Facebook page preferring to have more time in the real world.
Facebook subscribers will need to remain very vigilant as advertisers, such as gambling companies, enter Facebook to squeeze money out of people, especially young people, regardless of the stress, potential for addictive behaviour and financial problems that it causes Facebook Friends.
It looks like Facebook has begun that slippery, downhill slope into the gutter of manipulation and exploitation.