facebook

Posted on
February 5th, 2014

Facebook celebrates its 10th birthday!

Well done Facebook for reaching 10, and being the biggest social network in the world, with over one billion active users (around a quarter of the world’s population). 29 year old Mark Zuckerberg is rightly proud of his creation, which has become ubiquitous to the point where it is unusual not to have an account.

Facebook has worked to stay fresh, including the pioneering adoption of mobile technology, with over 556 million people accessing the site via their phone or tablet on a daily basis. This focus on mobile Facebook advertising has paid off, leading to mobile ads producing over $1 billion in revenue last quarter.

New games and apps, such as Bitstrips, have re-engaged users where interest may have been flagging. The company also has a habit of buying potential rivals – like Instagram, with its 100 million users, for $1 billion – in order to eliminate the competition and stay relevant.

Despite this ingenuity, critics have suggested that Facebook will struggle to attract and keep teenagers engaged with the brand. A study about Facebook at Princeton by John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, employing epidemiology theory, suggested that the site would lose 80% of its users within 3 years.

Facebook and online commenters have hit back ridiculing the study, and have used the ‘disease metaphor’ to their advantage; explaining that evolving over time means they can continue to ‘infect’ new hosts with the Facebook virus.

Both safety and privacy online has become a hot button topic in the days of sexting, cyber bullying and reputation management. Photographs are a serious issue; once a picture has been uploaded, it is near impossible to keep secret or delete. Teachers have uploaded pictures of themselves to Facebook to illustrate how quickly a photo can go viral; not to mention be altered and abused. Even deleting your Facebook account – a deliberately difficult process – doesn’t remove pictures that others have tagged you in.

Parents and grandparents have begun to join the site in droves; this is said to be another factor driving teens away, as it is bad etiquette to refuse a friend request from a relative, but you may not want that relative seeing your status updates, or what you got up to on a Friday night.

Rivals Snapchat, on the other hand (who recently refused a $3bn buyout offer from Facebook) allow users to send messages and pictures that are auto erased after a few seconds – a feature that both reduces and increases the risks of online communication between its (mostly) teenage users.

Only time will tell what the future of Facebook will be, but it seems they aren’t going away any time soon.

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