Facebook is a Privately Owned Company

Say it to yourself: Facebook is a privately owned company. Understand what that means: if they decide to change something, or something goes down at their end, you have no recourse. If you have organized your business plan / home page / photo-posting protocol around one of Facebook’s features and they decide to alter that feature or even take it down, again, no recourse. This is not to say that you shouldn’t incorporate Facebook into your business plan — you should. Facebook is a major player and can be enormously helpful to round out your online presence. But understand what you are doing.

Earlier today Facebook feeds went down for a few minutes. In that time, three of our clients emailed me to ask about it, concerned that their sites were broken (one of the three had checked other sites to note that other feeds were down, too, not just hers). None were upset with us (we have the best clients!), but there was concern that perhaps their feeds had been broken or we had mis-coded. I assured that sites were intact. But this goes to illustrate a general misconception about feeds and widgets. These fantastic bits of functionality are –by definition– generated elsewhere (a quick refresher in the fallibility of the internet and servers might be in order). The inclusion of such feeds and widgets on your site renders you dependent upon this privately-owned company. You are at the whim of a not-quite-30-year-old Harvard dropout billionaire, his lawyers, and his developers. It really kind of comes down to that. Facebook’s business plan revolves not around your needs — they are primarily concerned with their ability to generate ad revenue. Your user experience enters into that, of course, but not necessarily your business goals.

Some rumblings have made their way back to me about a number of authors who have decided that the website is dead at the hands of Facebook and they are merely going to maintain Facebook presences. Um, okay. Please see above about your entire online presence being now housed on a site for which you have no say. I can only say “Wow,” to that. And I suppose: “Good luck,” too.

3 thoughts on “Facebook is a Privately Owned Company

  1. Frankly, if there was another option besides FB out there, I would bale to it immediately. Seems I just get used to the latest incarnation and they decide to change matters in ways that always make it more difficult for me to communicate with the ones who have friended or liked me. Grrr!

    I have high hopes for Google+.

    1. We totally feel ya, Mia! FB updates can definitely be frustrating at times, but we think it can be very advantageous for authors too. We just gotta stay on top of it and make sure we know when they make drastic changes — which we do!

      We’re definitely keeping our eye out on Google+ too. 🙂

      Thanks for your input!

  2. I have such a love/hate relationship with FB. I cannot imagine I am alone in this. The problem for me with Google+ is that the idea of shifting what I have gotten SO used to over the years to a new platform seems exhausting to me. But I’m sure that’s what people said about moving from MySpace to FB…

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