You Were Worth a Lot More to Facebook in 2007 When It Was More Private

    June 22, 2012

So much of what gets said about Facebook these days revolves around what the company is worth, what Mark Zuckerberg is worth, what other Facebookers are worth; or, since the company’s hilariously bad initial public offering, the public conversation has been more focused on how much all of the aforementioned parties have lost thanks to Nasdaq, Facebook shares going belly-up, and general lack of confidence from advertisers.

But what about you, dear Facebooker? When was the last time somebody checked on the value of you, without whom Facebook would have zero Zuckerbucks in the bank?

In 2007, the year of your peak worth to Facebook, Pluggio calculates that each Facebook user was worth $152. Since then, each Facebook user’s value has diminished, bottoming out to a measly $17 as of May 2012.

$17? You could barely pay to go see The Dark Night Rises next month with $17.

Assuming that there’s any validity to Pluggio’s valuation of Facebook users, there’s an interesting corollary happening with the site and its relationship with users since 2007. The thing is, an analysis last month by privacy firm Abine showed that 2007 was the last time Facebook made an update to its privacy policy that didn’t automatically push user information into the public of the internet. Every update since 2009 has made more and more Facebook user information viewable to the general internet users of the world. Incidentally, following the infographic that Pluggio put together (see below), that timeline of diminished privacy correlates with Facebook’s billion-dollar growth occurring within the same time period.

Let’s put that into a formula. Since 2007, every change made to Facebook’s privacy policy resulted in less privacy for its users; and since 2007, the company has been raking in more billions of dollars each year (excepting the disastrous IPO that knocked down Facebook’s worth considerably). Anybody wanna take a stab at explaining that correlation using only three three letters?

Again, assuming that there is some legitimate value to Pluggio’s data, the diminished worth of Facebook users contrasted with the increasing worth of Facebook’s advertisers sort of points to where company’s interests and priorities are these days (here’s a hint: it’s not you, the user).

If you want to assess how much (or how little) Facebook’s users matter to the company and why they matter (or don’t matter) to the company, it’s simple: follow the money. Do that and you have a fairly plausible explanation for the devaluation of the Facebook user: you simply got bumped aside for advertisers because their pockets are deeper than yours, and Facebook is a very expensive date these days.

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