Facebook’s next steps may determine its fate

May 17, 2010

Facebook’s strength is quickly becoming a weakness. The very thing that made Facebook so popular, the ability to connect with nearly every real person you know in a single place, is what has many users up in arms against the site as it continues to grow.

Facebook’s latest growth strategy, expanding its influence on the Web through its Open Graph project, isn’t the first time users have complained about how the site handles their personal information. It is yet another episode where users don’t feel safe, though, and it’s coming at a time when Facebook has surpassed Google as the most popular place to spend time on the Web. A privacy problem for a site that is nearing 500 million active users, even users who are spending more and more time talking to each other, isn’t something to be taken lightly.

Does any of this sound familiar? While the details are different, Facebook’s growing trust deficit is starting to sound like the kind of trouble that ultimately torpedoed MySpace, the social network that once was king. How Facebook responds and what it does to regain its users’ trust will determine its fate: Whether it dwindles into obscurity or rebounds toward continued success. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.


2 Responses to “Facebook’s next steps may determine its fate”

  1. Ben Wilkins Says:

    Facebook certainly isn’t invincible, but the 500 million users have become accustomed to sharing information and connecting with friends. People won’t drop the Facebook habit without something else to fill the void (and don’t say Twitter… that’s not even close.) Facebook certainly may be digging their grave, but they won’t lay in it until another site comes in for the kill.

  2. Rob Robinson Says:

    Thanks for commenting, Ben. I think Facebook and Twitter are very different animals, so I agree that it won’t be a viable alternative for users looking to flee Facebook. It’s going to take something else that can get some traction, whether its Diaspora or something else that promises to handle privacy more delicately, for most users to move elsewhere.

    The alternative, and it sounds like Facebook may be getting the message, is for Facebook to make privacy simpler and easier to adopt for its users.

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