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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: Will you stop using Facebook — or at least stop Liking stuff on FB — if that will subject you to more advertising?

Facebook unlike

This weekend’s question was suggested by bronxbee, who sent a link to an article at Yahoo! Finance entitled “3 Ways Facebook Plans to Exploit Users,” which discusses some of Facebook’s future plans, as revealed by its IPO filing:

According to their filing, Facebook had 850 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) at the end of 2011. From that user base the company generated roughly $3.7b in revenue, or just under $4.50 for every member. Nearly 90% of this number comes from selling your information to advertisers who, in turn, try to sell you things Facebook says you want.

That may seem like a reasonable trade until we get to the IPO. “If this thing goes public at the price they’re expecting (Facebook) will get $120 per user,” Matt Nesto notes. Said another way, Facebook is going to sell you for 120 bucks. Wall Street bankers will get a cut of this figure, with Facebook getting the bulk of the money. FB users get nothing.

One of the ways Facebook is going to go about this value extraction is turning your every click into a sponsorship.

If you feel exploited now you ain’t seen nothing yet. Post-IPO, everything you “Like”, suggest or link is going to be packaged and sold. Anyone you “Friend” will be pitched stuff you like. People with whom you have common friends will be sold goods on the basis of your unwitting recommendation. You won’t just be connecting with people anymore, you’ll be infecting them with spam, pop-ups, and network.

In light of this, bronxbee wrote:

i wonder how many people will close their face book accounts or refuse to “like” anything anymore. i know that even now, i will not “like” any commercial products or television show or other “corporate” sponsorship of anything… a personal comment i may say “like” — everything else i just either make an actual comment or move on.

Will you stop using Facebook — or at least stop Liking stuff on FB — if that will subject you to more advertising?

For me, this is potentially bad news. I get a lot of traffic via Facebook, and I’ve been working to increase that. Some of that increase comes by getting readers to click Like on my posts, which then lets that content ripple out to the Likers friends and subscribers. If people stop using Facebook or stop Liking things, for whatever reason, that will make things much harder for me.

What do you think? Will this change how you use Facebook?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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