Facebook Case Study

Topics: Facebook, Social network service, MySpace Pages: 6 (2356 words) Published: October 30, 2013
Case Study: Facebook: Opportunities, Problems, Ambitions
Facebook was created and entered itself into the social networking world in February of 2004 by its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Since then, Facebook has seen astronomical growth including up to 900 million users and is estimated to be valued at 50 billion dollars. This rapid growth in revenue can be directly related to the privacy policy with Facebook. Facebook can get users personal data in many ways and Facebook user’s personal data can create business opportunities for Facebook and other businesses which is violating your privacy. As this issue arises and becomes more public, we will see what Facebook will be doing to ensure users that their personal information is protected. Facebook uses user’s data to How does Facebook get all of our information? Facebook has a group of 12 researchers that apply programming skills and math to look at our data and produce ways to advance Facebook’s business. These groups of researchers have the access to the entire pool of personal data that Facebook has. Facebook finds ways to get your personal information by doing it in several different ways. First, when you sign up for Facebook and want to become a user and create a profile, you need to enter your personal email, age, gender and some other personal information like your relationship status, where you work and your phone number. Secondly, Facebook can track your information and data with the “Like” button. With a click of a button other users can see what you liked whether it was a song, a picture or a status (Exhibit 1) For example, someone else could take an embarrassing picture at someone at a party and upload that picture to their profile. Once the picture is up, the user or another one of their friends can tag the person in the picture without his consent or permission and other users that are friends with the person in the picture will see that picture on their newsfeed. If the person in the picture wants to take the picture off of Facebook he or she can’t just click a button like his or her friends did to put the picture on Facebook, he has to call a help number to get the picture removed. Also, outside of Facebook, Facebook can collect data on its users from other websites. For example if you listen to a song or read a news article on a different website it is transferred to Facebook and available to other users to see your activity without even clicking a “Like” button. Exhibit 1

Facebook has come up with a couple features as a response to the privacy criticism. The first feature is called Groups. This feature allowed users and their friends to place each other in a number of social circles and choose which bits of information who they want to share with who they want to. This seems like a good way to keep your information private and only to the people that you choose to share it with but on the contrary, this feature allows friends to have the ability to add users to groups on their behalf without consent of other users. Another feature that was aided to help the privacy issue but didn’t get warm reception was the “Places” feature. This feature has been criticized because it gives online friends the ability to check someone into a place without that person’s permission. The free collection of user data is causing some people to be cautious towards Facebook and its privacy policy. When you sign up for Facebook it assumes you want to share as much as your personal data as possible. If you don’t want to share as much data as possible you have to change your privacy settings which can be confusing and cause trouble to the user. Why not just let the default privacy settings be tight privacy controls and have the user adjust what privacy controls they want. If Facebook fails to improve its privacy policy, it could lose users, which in turn means a loss of capital for Facebook because the users are the source of capital. This need for personal data reflects a...
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