After IPO, Facebook's Next Conquest is Mobile

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Prior to his company's initial public offering today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors that finding a way to monetize the website's mobile platform is his priority for the rest of 2012 (and presumably beyond if Facebook doesn't produce any results that it likes).

Facebook's already becoming a pain in the backside for mobile carriers as more people are using the site, presumably both on the web and mobile, to send messages instead of straight-out texting. Add to that the strain that your typical Facebook activity, like uploading photos and videos, is putting on mobile networks and it starts to sound like Facebook is taking their share as well as the carriers' share.

That's only the current problem wireless carriers are having with Facebook. Who knows what innovations Facebook might come up with in the future that could increase the tax that it takes on mobile providers. A telecom analyst told the New York Times today about some potentially terrifying possibilities - terrifying if you're AT&T or Verizon, at least - of how Facebook could seriously bite into mobile industry, such as with the creation of a built-in voice messaging feature.

As more people bypass their mobile carriers's paid services and use free alternatives to texting and, possibly, actually calling people (if people even still continue to want to do that in the future), expect that the carriers will find ways to recoup that loss of revenue, perhaps most likely by hiking up the price of data plans or even capping data usage.

Then again, there's no real reason why Facebook and the dons of the wireless industry can't find an accord. Facebook's new App Center presents one opportunity the two parties might be able to play nicely together, not to mention the fact that most people probably consider things like their mobile Facebook experience whenever they're considering a smartphone purchase from a carrier.

Or, if people are speculating that Apple could possibly become a wireless service provider, who's to say that Facebook couldn't do the same thing if it was to be so bold?