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CASE STUDY FACEBOOKS DILEMMA

SUMMARY OF THE CASE FACEBOOKS DILEMMA


Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world after MySpace 750 million users (Jul 2011) Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg Has benefited from its status as a first mover in the social networking marketplace, amassing a large audience It is a goldmine of opportunity for advertisers because of the huge user info base

Has encountered more than its fair share of controversy mainly concerning the handling of info it collects from its users Beacon Advertising Service informed users about friend activity outside facebook News Feed provides updates to friends about actions performed in facebook Was criticised for retaining information about users even after account deactivation

Looking forward to profitability


Facebook Platform, opened up to serve as a platform for applications that are independently developed by third parties. Companies get exposure by attracting users to applications Application owners earn revenue by ads

In 2008 launched a new series of privacy controls to sort people into groups and selectively grant access to parts of profile However, flaws were uncovered in Facebooks privacy controls

SO WHAT IS FACEBOOKS DILEMMA?


To increase revenue using the information from its users without invading their privacy

I. WHAT CONCEPTS IN THIS CHAPTER ARE ILLUSTRATED IN THIS CASE?


Ubiquity Global Reach Universal Standards Richness Interactivity Information Density Personalization/customization Social Technology

II. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF E-COMMERCE AND WEB 2.0 TECHNOLOGIES IN FACEBOOKS WIDESPREAD POPULARITY?

III. Describe the weaknesses of Facebooks privacy policies and features. What management, organization, and technology factors have contributed to those weaknesses?

The Beacon Program shared information that users had not explicitly intended to share. Handling of the News Feed feature updates on all friend activities overly invasive Information retention on account deactivation users had a hard time deleting their accounts

MANAGEMENT FACTORS
Management assumed that it had the consent of the users to share their personal information with advertisers Management utterly failed to grasp the extent to which the service violated its users privacy as well as the uproar such a service was likely to cause.

ORGANISATIONAL FACTORS
Social networking is a powerful medium and it must be used carefully to share information At the end of the day, the users are responsible for giving their personal information

TECHNOLOGY FACTORS
Biggest concern - Privacy and user controls over the information granted to facebook Beacon even after selecting opt-out, continued to send info to facebook Flaws in privacy controls as exposed by a Canadian technician