Will Facebook’s Priorities Change After Going Public?By: Shawn Hess - May 16, 2012
As we approach the eve of the much anticipated Facebook IPO many are still left wondering how the social networking site is going to satisfy demand from all their shareholders to generate huge returns on those investments. Now as many of you may recall, just before all of this IPO additional shares ruckus, many experts in the investment industry were concerned about just how overvalued Facebook already was. Remember, just because people want to own shares doesn’t mean it’s going to perform once their money is invested.
Right now investors should be worried about how Facebook ads are performing, what they are going to do to take advantage of their huge influx of mobile traffic, and most importantly, how they are going to attract more entities to advertise on their platform. So one fear that may arise is that Facebook will sell our personal data in order to help advertisers more effectively target us with marketing campaigns. In fact, Facebook more recently made some changes to their privacy policies and added the “Facebook Terms and Policies Hub” in order to bring a greater degree of transparency to how they manage our personal data.
If Facebook wants to make any money it will. Facebook is a social network, if advertisers can’t take advantage of your personal connections and personal preferences what good would it be? A recent AP-CNBC poll found that almost 65% of Facebook users either weren’t sure or didn’t feel safe purchasing goods through Facebook. Another poll by Abine online privacy finds that 75% don’t trust Facebook or how they use our sensitive personal information. That’s really interesting considering the amount of information we share on the site has been gradually headed upward.
Abine CEO William Kerrigan commented on the Facebook sharing trend and our private data:
“We all use Facebook to connect, share, and stay in touch with friends and family, but that doesn’t mean we want all of our private information out there for the entire world to see,”
“We’re starting to see a real shift in Facebook users’ behavior. Today, the only thing growing faster than Facebook’s user base is the number of its users setting their privacy settings.”
On Friday Facebook will become a publicly traded company and it will have a responsibility to keep its shareholders happy. I just have to wonder if the return on their investments will outweigh Facebook’s responsibility to their users and keeping their private data safe. Somehow I doubt it’s a priority to advertisers or shareholders.