Many have often wondered if Facebook and Twitter would ever find a way to monetize the millions of eyeballs they draw to their site every day, and it looks like we finally have our answer. It appears as though Facebook managed to bring in over $800 million in revenue for 2009, a number that blows the lid off anything the analysts were forecasting.
The Reuters news agency who reported on the earnings insist that the information came from a reliable, albeit unnamed source within the company. Validating this number is all but impossible considering Facebook continues to operate as a private company, but these guys have a pretty high degree of credibility.
Assuming these numbers are correct, this works out to about $2 in revenue per user. They still have a long way to go, but beating street estimates should help them attract additional investors should they ever choose to go public. You might only be worth a couple of bucks to Zuck, but he makes it up in volume.
You Tube is the run away winner when it comes to short and pointless web videos, but Facebook's nearly half a billion users are catching up pretty quick. According to the social networking giant over 20 million videos are uploaded every month, and over two billion get watched. This is still a drop in the bucket when you consider over 25 billion pieces of content are shared by Facebook users each month, but its clearly the start of a trend.
Facebook's lead engineering manager Josh Wiseman said the company expects to see this number grow exponentially with the rise of video ready smart phones. "Video traffic has grown over the past year as more people upload video directly from their mobile phone", he said.
Saying that web video use will rise is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but it will be interesting to see if video ever overtakes pictures as the primary sharing mechanism on social networks.
Give Facebook credit, the site has built somewhat of an empire in the social networking space, and it continues to conquer new territories. The latest to welcome Facebook into its kingdom is Yahoo, which today announced plans to integrate the social networking service globally across more than 15 of its sites.
"More and more, people rely on social sites to share and discover information that matters to them, making Yahoo! uniquely positioned to provide people with all of the mainstream methods of content discovery - social, search, communications, and editorial," said Cody Simms, senior director of Social Platforms and Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN) at Yahoo!. "Starting with Facebook, we are bringing all of these elements together to give people one simple, trusted place to share information and connect. We think this offers great benefit to people across the web, and it's key to helping Yahoo! extend our reach and increase engagement."
Users of both Yahoo and Facebook are now able to link their accounts and view/share updates with friends across both networks. And if you choose to connect your accounts, you can view your Facebook News Feed on the Yahoo homepage, Yahoo Mail, and several other Yahoo portals.
The latest crop of Facebook rivals is not driven by monetary ambitions but more altruistic causes. These efforts at snubbing the world's most popular social network site are being spearheaded by those aggrieved or even outraged by Facebook's actions.
A group of four students from NYU’s Courant Institute are in for a busy summer, with their concept of a “privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network” having received $200,000 from nearly 6500 backers on fundraising site Kickstarter.com. Their still-to-be-coded network is called Diaspora.
More about Diaspora and another rival's jihad against "blasphemous" Facebook after the jump.
If a business wants to block Facebook, it's common for them to work with IT to design an elaborate, and ultimately flawed, scheme to do so. But according to Microsoft's Stuart Strathdee, many businesses are just continuing to run the now ancient Internet Explorer 6. As it turns out, most of the slick new social networking sites don't render properly in IE6; they sometimes don't work at all.
This way a company doesn't have to actively talk to employees about acceptable usage, or develop security tactics. "For a lot of our customers that's just a comfortable consequence of staying on IE6," said Strathdee. This looks like a bit of speed bump in Microsoft's efforts to get everyone on IE8. Strathdee points to the much improved security features of newer version of the web browser as reason enough for companies to switch.
Does your place of business still use IE6? If so, do you think they're doing it out of laziness, or is there a more devious purpose?
Can't go a week on any given tech site nowadays without seeing the "F" word. By that, of course, I'm referring to Facebook--and all the privacy implications for its users that have been arguing about on the Web for the past many weeks.
I'm not here to tell you that Facebook is good, evil, or a delicious chocolate-vanilla-strawberry mix. Make that decision yourself. What I can do, however, is point you to a wonderful tool for assessing your own privacy levels on the service. Trying to navigate Facebook's litany of settings and options for keeping this, that, and the other in (or out) of the public eye is indeed treacherous. Don't give up hope, though; salvation lies in the form of a tiny little bookmarklet that you can run on your profile at a moment's notice.
It looks like Facebook is actually planning to make some changes in the wake of repeated recent privacy issues. While on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, Facebook's VP of product, Chris Cox said that so-called "drastically simplified" privacy controls will roll out starting tomorrow. Many were skeptical about the likelihood of real changes this soon, but Cox claims the new controls will ease privacy fears.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post admitting Facebook had made mistakes. Some did, however, note he neglected to actually apologize for said mistakes. When the changes start taking place, we'll see if Facebook is actually listening to the concerns. It is unlikely that Facebook will cease the practice of requiring users to opt out of privacy changes, though.
We're a little concerned with the implications of "drastically simplified". There is such a thing as too simple. What are your predictions for Facebook's new privacy controls? Will it make more sense, or just lead to new complaints?
All the recent hoopla surrounding Facebook's privacy policies has users of the social networking service more than a little nervous. So much so, in fact, that some 60 percent of Facebook users are ready to walk away and find a new virtual stomping ground, suggests a new poll by Internet security firm Sophos.
Out of the 1,588 Facebook users that were polled, 30 percent said that they were "highly likely" to quit over privacy concerns, while another 30 percent said they "possibly" would. Combined with the 16 percent who indicated they already have moved on, that's more than three-fourths who have either already walked away or are considering doing so.
"What this poll shows is that the majority of the people we polled are fed up with the lack of control that Facebook gives them over their own data," Sophos wrote in a blog post. "Most still don't know how to set their Facebook privacy options safely, finding the whole system confusing. What's needed is a fundamental shift towards asking users to 'opt-in' to sharing information, rather than to 'opt-out'."
Sophos also said that mass exodus from Facebook seems unlikely, but did note that "delete Facebook account" has become an increasingly hot search term on Google.
Lordy. It's hard to spend but a week surfing the Internet without seeing a group of people getting caught up in a situation that they've volunteered themselves into. And it would be remiss of me to go a single sentence further without mentioning the latest elephant in the room--Facebook.
I can't log into Facebook without seeing a growing number of my friends joining those silly little, "Facebook is opening up my entire life and I wish it was like it was back in 2005" groups/fan pages/whatever we're calling them now. But Dave's Comrades aren't the only ones joining in on the fun--tech pundits Jason Calacanis and Peter Rojas, amongst others, are nuking their accounts in protest as well! It's a Facebook meltdown!
Unlike the open-source world, where the concept of "something for nothing" is pretty widely understood and accepted--even by those that just download away and never contribute a single iota of code or absent thought to an application's development--the general Internet populace seems pretty peeved at an otherwise free service's attempts to branch out its offerings. This, in turn, leads to a stronger advertising platform and/or additional service expansions, but mainly the former. Facebook ain't charity, after all--the company has human overhead and server costs, to name a few, and it's not as if every status update magically conjures up a shiny nickel for Mark Zuckerberg.
While Google continues to receive a ton of flack for not safeguarding personal data, recent changes in Facebook's user privacy settings has a lot of people wondering just how safeguarded they actually are. Luckily, with some easy changes and a strong focus on particular details, it's not impossible to guard your personal data. In order to help you do so, Mac|Life's J.R. Bookwalter explains how every Facbook privacy feature works, and what you can do to keep your info safe and secure.