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A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Online community services are sometimes considered as a social network service, though in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks. The main types of social networking services are those which contain category places (such as former school year or classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages) and a recommendation system linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with Facebook and Twitter widely used worldwide, Nexopia (mostly in Canada); Bebo, VKontakte, Hi5, Hyves (mostly in The Netherlands), Draugiem.lv (mostly in Latvia), StudiVZ (mostly in Germany), iWiW (mostly in Hungary), Tuenti (mostly in Spain), Nasza-Klasa (mostly in Poland), Decayenne, Tagged, XING, Badoo and Skyrock in parts of Europe; Orkut and Hi5 in South America and Central America; and Friendster, Mixi, Multiply, Orkut, Wretch, renren and Cyworld in Asia and the Pacific Islands and Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Orkut in India. There have been attempts to standardize these services to avoid the need to duplicate entries of friends and interests (see the FOAF standard and the Open Source Initiative). Although some of the largest social networks were founded on the notion of digitizing real world connections, many networks focus on categories from books and music to non-profit business to motherhood as ways to provide both services and community to individuals with shared interests.
The potential for computer networking to facilitate new forms of computer-mediated social interaction was suggested early on. Efforts to support social networks via computer-mediated communication were made in many early online services, including Usenet, ARPANET, LISTSERV, and bulletin board services (BBS). Many prototypical features of social networking sites were also present in online services such as America Online, Prodigy, and CompuServe.
Early social networking on the World Wide Web began in the form of generalized online communities such as Theglobe.com (1995), Geocities (1994) and Tripod.com (1995). Many of these early communities focused on bringing people together to interact with each other through chat rooms, and encouraged users to share personal information and ideas via personal webpages by providing easy-to-use publishing tools and free or inexpensive webspace. Some communities - such as Classmates.com - took a different approach by simply having people link to each other via email addresses. In the late 1990s, user profiles became a central feature of social networking sites, allowing users to compile lists of "friends" and search for other users with similar interests. New social networking methods were developed by the end of the 1990s, and many sites began to develop more advanced features for users to find and manage friends. This newer generation of social networking sites began to flourish with the emergence of Makeoutclub in 2000, followed by Friendster in 2002, and soon became part of the Internet mainstream. Friendster was followed by MySpace and LinkedIn a year later, and finally, Bebo. Attesting to the rapid increase in social networking sites' popularity, by 2005, MySpace was reportedly getting more page views than Google. Facebook, launched in 2004, has since become the largest social networking site in the world. Today, it is estimated that there are now over 200 active sites using a wide variety of social networking models.
Emerging trends in social networking
As the increase in popularity of social networking is on a constant rise, new uses for the technology are constantly being observed. At the forefront of emerging trends in social networking sites is the concept of "realtime web" and "location based." Real time allows users to contribute content, which is then broadcasted as it is being uploaded - the concept is analogous to live radio
and television broadcasts. Twitter set the trend for "real time" services, where users can broadcast to the world what they are doing, or what is on their minds within a 140 character limit. Facebook followed suit with their "Live Feed" where users' activities are streamed as soon as it happens.While Twitter focuses on words, Clixtr, another real time service, focuses on group photo sharing where users can update their photo streams with photos while at an event. Friends and nearby users can contribute their own photos and comments to that event stream, thus contributing to the "real time" aspect of broadcasting photos and comments as it is being uploaded. In the location based social networking space, Foursquare gained popularity as it allowed for users to "check-in" to places that they are frequenting at that moment. Gowalla is another such service which functions in much the same way that Foursquare does, leveraging the GPS in phones to create a location-based user experience. Clixtr, though in the real time space, is also a location based social networking site since events created by users are automatically geotagged, and users can view events occurring nearby through the Clixtr iPhone app. Recently, Yelp announced its entrance into the location based social networking space through check-ins with their mobile app; whether or not this becomes detrimental to Foursquare or Gowalla is yet to be seen as it is still considered a new space in the internet technology industry. One popular use for this new technology is social networking between businesses. Companies have found that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great ways to build their brand image. According to Jody Nimetz, author of Marketing Jive, there are five major uses for businesses and social media: to create brand awareness, as an online reputation management tool, for recruiting, to learn about new technologies and competitors, and as a lead gen tool to intercept potential prospects. These companies are able to drive traffic to their own online sites while encouraging their consumers and clients to have discussions on how to improve or change products or services. One other use that is being discussed is the use of Social Networks in the Science communities. Julia Porter Liebeskind et al. have published a study on how New Biotechnology Firms are using social networking sites to share exchanges in scientific knowledge. They state in their study that by sharing information and knowledge with one another, they are able to "increase both their learning and their flexibility in ways that would not be possible within a self-contained hierarchical organization." Social networking is allowing scientific groups to expand their knowledge base and share ideas, and without these new means of communicating their theories might become "isolated and irrelevant". Social networks are also being used by teachers and students as a communication tool. Because many students are already using a wide-range of social networking sites, teachers have begun to familiarize themselves with this trend and are now using it to their advantage. Teachers and professors are doing everything from creating chat-room forums and groups to extend classroom discussion to posting assignments, tests and quizzes, to assisting with homework outside of the classroom setting. Social networks are also being used to foster teacher-parent
communication. These sites make it possible and more convenient for parents to ask questions and voice concerns without having to meet face-to-face. Social networks are being used by activists as a means of low-cost grassroots organizing. Extensive use of an array of social networking sites enabled organizers of the 2009 National Equality March to mobilize an estimated 200,000 participants to march on Washington with a cost savings of up to 85% per participant over previous methods. The use of online social networks by libraries is also an increasingly prevalent and growing tool that is being used to communicate with more potential library users, as well as extending the services provided by individual libraries. A final rise in social network use is being driven by college students using the services to network with professionals for internship and job opportunities. Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of networking online in a college setting, and one notable one is by Phipps Arabie and Yoram Wind published in Advances in Social Network Analysis.
Social network hosting service A social network hosting service is a web hosting service that specifically hosts the user creation of web-based social networking services, alongside related applications. Such services are also known as vertical social networks due to the creation of SNSes which cater to specific user interests and niches; like larger, interest-agnostic SNSes, such niche networking services may also possess the ability to create increasingly-niche groups of users. Business model
Few social networks currently charge money for membership. In part, this may be because social networking is a relatively new service, and the value of using them has not been firmly established in customers' minds. Companies such as MySpace and Facebook sell online advertising on their site. Their business model is based upon large membership count, and charging for membership would be counterproductive. Some believe that the deeper information that the sites have on each user will allow much better targeted advertising than any other site can currently provide. Social networks operate under an autonomous business model, in which a social network's members serve dual roles as both the suppliers and the consumers of content. This is in contrast to a traditional business model, where the suppliers and consumers are distinct agents. Revenue is typically gained in the autonomous business model via advertisements, but subscription-based revenue is possible when membership and content levels are sufficiently high. Growth of Social Networking
Social Networking- the Revenue Generator
While doing some research on social networking domain, found some interesting figures to share, which will surely drive the social networking development companies. Market at a glanceThe market for the internet and social networking communities is estimated at about USD 1500M this year. Social network/Community development and enhancement individually by 2006 stood at USD 700M and is estimated to touch USD 4000M by 2010. The top 3 player in the market are Myspace, Facebook and Bebo with market shares 80.74%, 10.32%, 1.18% respectively.( data is based on custom category of 20 of the leading social networking websites ranked by market share of visits, which is the percentage of traffic to the site, based on Hitwise sample of 10 million US Internet users. The percentages represent the market share of visits among the websites within the custom category.)
Growth Path Social networking sites are growing 47% year on year increasing from an audience of 46.8 million to 68.8 million in April 2006. Social networking sites are the reality of the Internet; the content is relatively inexpensive for publishers to produce. It will become more ingrained in mainstream sites, just as reality TV shows. MySpace.com, the top Social Networking site of all in terms of number of registered users, saw a staggering 367% increase. The graph is still increasing with many more Social Networking players jumping in; the web scene seems set just right for Social Networking. The social networking sites that are seeing strong growth have developed a unique online presence which is refreshed by user generated content. This promotes ongoing consumers interest and visitor loyalty. The market share of Internet visits to the top 20 social networking websites grew by 11.5 percent from January to February 2007, to account for 6.5 percent of all Internet visits in February 2007. Mobile Social networking- The next Destination Social networking is going mobile and is poised for spectacular growth over the next five years, mobile social communities will be attracting members in swarms, more than tripling in size from 50 millions to 174 millions by 2011.
For the moment, MySpace and Facebook are hot. News Corp. paid 0 million last year for MySpace as part of a .3 billion Internet acquisition spree. Facebook just received an additional million in venture capital. Both companies are planning to extend their reach beyond the computer screen to cell phones. Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless are starting a service that will allow users to post messages on Facebook’s home pages or search for other users’ phone numbers and email addresses from a cell phone. MySpace has a pact with Helio, a wireless joint venture between SK Telecom and Earthlink, which will allow users to send photos and update their blogs or profiles by cell phone.
The Laws of Social Networking Sites
1. Legal Liability of Users Social networking sites enable users to publish content. Users may not consider themselves content publishers (especially when they write mundane/brief postings), but they are. Publishing content can create a number of legal issues, such as defamation (making harmful false statements about someone else) or copyright infringement. In this respect, social networking sites don't create any "new" legal issues; users who publish content can be liable for their publication choices just like other content publishers, such as newspapers or magazines. Users often believe that they have some degree of anonymity for their statements and actions on social networking sites, and in some cases they try to hide their true identity. However, users' identities often can be easily revealed through legal processes. Sometimes, users suffer adverse consequences due to their social networking site, such as school discipline, foregone job offers or employment termination. 2. Legal Liability of Social Networking Site Vendors Congress generally protects site vendors from legal liability for user-supplied content. 17 USC 512(c) says that vendors generally aren't liable for user-supplied copyright infringing content unless the copyright owner notifies the vendor and the vendor fails to promptly remove the infringing content. 47 USC 230(c)(1) says that vendors aren't liable under any circumstance for other types of legal claims based on users' content (with minor exceptions). Some legislators are concerned about the presence of sexual predators on social networking sites, and they have proposed a variety of laws designed to restrict predator access to the sites.
The Law of Social Networking Sites Statutes 17 USC 512(c): a website isn't liable for hosting user copyright-infringing content unless the website receives a notice from the copyright owner and fails to promptly remove the content. 47 USC 230(c)(1): "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." Virginia HB 2749/SB 1071 (enacted April 10, 2007): sexual offenders must register their email addresses and IM screen names, and the police may set up a mechanism for online businesses to check these registries. Selected Cases A.B. v. State, 863 N.E. 2d 1212 (Ind. Ct. App. April 9, 2007) (student posting obscenity-laden comments to a fake MySpace page isn't guilty of criminal harassment because comments were protected political speech). Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 474 F. Supp. 2d 843 (W.D. Texas Feb. 13, 2007) (due to 47 USC 230, MySpace isn't liable for sexual assaults committed by users against other users). The Football Association Premier League Ltd v. YouTube, Inc., 1:07-cv-03582-UA (S.D.N.Y. complaint filed May 4, 2007) (can copyright owners bypass the 512(c) notification scheme?) J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District, 2007 WL 954245 (M.D. Pa. March 29, 2007) (school principal can suspend eighth grader who posted obscenity-laden fake MySpace page in the principal's name). Layshock ex rel. Layshock v. Hermitage School District, 412 F. Supp. 2d 502 (W.D. Pa. January 31, 2006) (school can punish student for creating a fake MySpace page in the principal's name). Viacom International, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. complaint filed March 13, 2007) (does YouTube qualify for 512(c) safe harbor for user-posted copyright infringing material). Proposed Federal Statutes Deleting Online Predators Act of 2007 (H.R. 1120/S. 49) (requiring schools/libraries receiving federal funds to block minors' unrestricted access to social networking sites and chatrooms). KIDS Act of 2007 (H.R. 719/S. 431) (requiring sexual predators to register their email addresses and other screen names and enabling social networking sites to
access those electronic identifiers so that the sexual predators can be blocked from registering with the social networking sites). H. Res. 224 (resolution requesting that social networking sites proactively remove "enemy propaganda from their sites," such as videos made by terrorists).
Understanding the Legal Issues for Social Networking Sites and Their Users It seems that everyone is a member of a social network these days. Whether it's your kids on MySpace and Facebook, or your colleagues on LinkedIn, people are taking advantage of these new online meeting spaces to make friends, communicate and expand business opportunities. But what are the legal obligations that arise out of the use of social networks, both for the user and the sites themselves? The law in this area is still relatively unsettled, but some recent developments have created intriguing precedent, and legislation in motion promises to keep things interesting for the foreseeable future. Laws Pertaining to Social Networking Sites The two most important statutes to consider when discussing the legal liabilities and obligations of the social networking sites are Section 512(c) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 512 Section 512(c) removes liability for copyright infringement from websites that allow users to post content, as long as the site has a mechanism in place whereby the copyright owner can request the removal of infringing content. The site must also not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity. This creates an interesting problem for most sites that allow users to post music, photos or video. For instance, several content owners have sued YouTube, the video sharing site, for copyright infringement, and YouTube has claimed a 512(c) defense. Since YouTube is a subsidiary of Google, its future business plan most likely involves serving advertisements according to the kind of video that users view or search for. If the site does this, however, it could amount to a financial benefit directly attributable to the sharing of copyrighted materials. Those cases are currently before federal district courts, and their resolution will greatly impact the services that social networks offer, as well as their business models.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes website from any liability resulting from the publication of information provided by another. This usually arises in the context of defamation, but several courts have expanded it to cover other sorts of claims as well. Thus, if a user posts defamatory or otherwise illegal content, Section 230 shields the social network provider from any liability arising out of the publication. Websites that, in whole or in part, create or develop contested information, on the other hand, are deemed "content providers" that do not benefit from the protections of Section 230. A recent 9th Circuit opinion has called the section's broad coverage into question, and created uncertainty for social networking sites that have relied on Section 230 to protect them from claims relating to the content that their users create. That case, Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC, began when two fair housing groups sued the website Roommates.com, alleging that Roommates.com's roommate networking service violated the Fair Housing Act. The district court found that the website qualified for Section 230 immunity and entered judgment for the website without reaching the question of whether the site did indeed violate the FHA. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded for a trial on the merits. A divided Ninth Circuit panel found that the website created or developed information on the site in two ways: First, by creating the questions that users answered when creating their profiles. Second, by channeling or filtering the profiles according to the answers to those questions. The court's second justification is fairly controversial, and goes against the widely established precedent granting a broad, robust privilege to interactive service providers. In essence, the panel's ruling holds that, by channeling information to users and providing search capabilities, Roommates.com has added an additional layer of information, "meta-information" you could say, that it is at least partly responsible for creating or developing. The effects of this new "channeling" test could be devastating for social networking sites, many of which operate in similar ways to Roommates.com. Sites could now find themselves open to liability for information posted by third-parties, and this could result in a reduction of the number of speech-related services available online - exactly the opposite of what Congress intended when passing Section 230 in the first place. For example, MySpace.com attempts to restrict the ability to view underage profiles by preventing older users from accessing them. In effect, the web site filters the content based on answers provided during registration to ensure that only minors of certain ages can view other profiles from that age group. This would almost certainly qualify as meta-information under the Roommates.com decision, and would bump MySpace out from under the protection of Section 230. If a sexual predator give a false age on MySpace.com and then lured a victim from the site, would MySpace then be open to claims of negligence in the publication of the information? A federal district court in Texas recently answered that question in
the negative, but under this new decision, which carries more jurisprudential weight, courts could swing in the opposite direction and find the web site liable. Given that the Roommates.com decision goes against the body of established precedent for Section 230 cases, however, it is likely that Roommates.com will ask for an en banc review, and it is quite possible that they will prevail during that review. Until then, however, watch for a possible deluge of plaintiffs rushing to court in the Ninth Circuit's jurisdictions in order to sue social networking sites. State Laws In addition to these federal statutes, several states have enacted or proposed laws that would create requirements for social networking sites, particularly in regards to monitoring the presence and activities of sexual predators using the sites. Virginia, for example, has enacted a law requiring sexual offenders to register their email addresses and IM screen names, and allows police officer to create mechanisms for web sites to check user information against the resulting database. The North Carolina state senate recently passed a bill requiring that parents and guardians register with a social networking site and verify their ages before their children can sign up for an account. This is to counter the difficulty in verifying the ages of minors, who usually lack credit cards or other sources of information concerning their ages. That bill still requires approval from the North Carolina House of Representatives. Connecticut legislators have also proposed a bill that would require social networking sites to verify the ages of their users and obtain parental permission for users under 18. Under the proposed law, sites that failed to comply would be subject to fines of $5,000 per day. Legal Considerations for Social Networking Users Social networking users don't enjoy any of the immunities granted to social networking sites under the law, so they should be careful to always act appropriately when posting messages or files to the sites. The main areas where users can get themselves into trouble are through the posting of defamatory content or content that infringes on intellectual property rights. Since no statutory immunities exist to shield users, the standard laws pertaining to defamation and infringement apply. If a user is found to have posted defamatory content, the user will be liable, even if the site can escape liability under Section 230. Similarly, if a user posts material that infringes on another's copyright, the user will face liability for the infringement, despite the site's potential safe harbor under Section 512. The First Amendment and state constitutional free-speech provisions often come into play in these types of defamation suits. Several of the most prominent cases regarding user liability for material posted on social networking sites have dealt with students suffering criminal charges or adverse consequences at their schools as a result of allegedly defamatory, threatening or indecent messages posted on social networking sites. The most important of these recent student cases is a case recently decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals, A.B. v. State. In that case, A.B., a minor, posted expletive-
filled comments on a fake MySpace page purporting to belong to A.B.'s former middle school principal. The principal reported the site to the authorities, and A.B. was declared a "juvenile delinquent" by a juvenile court after the judge found that the comments constituted criminal harassment. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the free-speech component of the Indiana State Constitution protected the comments that A.B. posted. Since A.B. had challenged the school's anti-piercing policy in her post, the court held, the comment was political speech aimed at the principal's policies, and protected under the Indiana Constitution. In two other cases, Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District, the students were not so lucky. In both cases, the school's punishments against students for creating fake MySpace pages in the names of their respective principals were upheld by federal district courts. After the Supreme Court's decision in Frederick v. Morse - the infamous "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, the decisions are unlikely to be overturned on appeal. Also keep in mind that many states are passing laws that create obligations to verify a user's age. Any fraud or circumvention of these requirements could have repercussions for social networking users in addition to the usual charges of defamation and infringement.
Comparisons and statistics of some of the Social Networking Sites
The following chart represents the growth of various social networking sites in India during the past year. The dark bar represents the total number of unique visitors for a site in Nov '09 while the lighter bar represents the same number for Nov '10. As is obvious from the chart, Facebook experienced enormous growth in India, rising to the top spot, while previous market-leader Orkut has more or less stagnated in this period. LinkedIn and Twitter have also managed to nearly double their audience in a year. While most old-time Orkut users may have migrated to Facebook, Orkut numbers have not declined because the site is still hugely popular in Tier-II and Tier-III towns of India. These numbers are based on comScore data and were originally published in the latest issue of Business Today.
The Major Players in the Social Networking Sites Market
• Facebook keeps it’s stats page updated, and boasts over 350mm users. Facebook, ongoing
• Facebook has announced 400mm users, Feb 5, 2010. • Infographic on Auguts 2009 Facebook stats, including usage, size, adoption rates by Mashable, on Feb 12. • Facebook demonstrates growth in total number of visitors (now over Yahoo, for second place) and a high degree of attention (time on site) “Facebook has surged past Yahoo as the number two most popular site in the U.S., drawing nearly 134 Million Unique Visitors in January, 2010. It’s been two full years since we’ve seen a shakeup at the top – In February, 2008, Google overtook Yahoo as number one, and never looked back.” Compete, Feb 18, 2010 • Usage of casual gaming (Farmville, mafia wars) is suggested to be by moms. A PopCap survey reports that “The PopCap study showed that 55 percent of all social gamers in the U.S. are women, as are almost 60 percent of those in the UK. The average age in the U.S. is 48, which is substantially older than the 38-year-old average in the UK, and 46 percent of American social gamers are 50 or older, compared with just 23 percent in the UK. Only 6 percent of all social gamers are age 21 or younger.” Via GigaOm, Feb 18 • Facebook visitors to other sites are apparently more sticky at least by a few margin points: “To offer one example, 81% of visits to CNN.com in the week to March 6, 2010 were returning visitors while 84% of visitors to CNN.com that came from Facebook.com were returning visitors and 72% from Google News were returning visitors.” One could argue that these Facebook users are more engaged, or content that is recommended to them by friends is more relevant. Hitwise, March 18 • Facebook has cross the 500mm user mark, see blog post from CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, July 21, 2010 • Top countries adopting Facebook: United States, UK, Indonesia, see stats from Royal Pingdom, August, 2010
• Myspace has some great benefits. The ability of being able to make your Myspace the way you want it is awesome. Even beginning computer and Internet users can get in and create a Myspace that matches their personality. Myspace has a welcoming and easy to use interface. You can easily put all kinds of different things on your site for family and friends to view. You can add video, music, and plenty of pictures to your Myspace page. Sometimes if there is too much information, graphics, etc on a page, it can be slow at loading. There are even times that the pages will have errors or not open at all.
Myspace has been around long enough that there are many layouts, graphics and generators that you can use in order to get the most from the look of your page. Myspace has several different ways that you can meet new people to date, have as friends etc. This is based towards all different age groups. You can create slide shows and much more to bring out your family and friends the new pictures of the kids and your life.
• Now has 60mm users, “Over the past year, network has seen a significant amount of growth, especially internationally. As of last December, the network had 55 million members, so its grown by 5 million in less than two months. In October, LinkedIn’s network’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, said in the post that half of LinkedIn’s membership is international. ” reports Techcrunch, Feb 11 Tagged • All data told to me by Tagged directly on March 24 by ssarner at tagged.com • Statistics: Total Registered Users: 100 Million • Global Monthly Unique Visitors: 16 million • USA Monthly Unique Visitors: 6 million • Daily Users: 3.5 million • Monthly Page Views: 7 billion • Attention USA (comScore) Average Minutes per Visit: 12.2 – #1 social network • Total Monthly Minutes: 796 Million – #3 social network • 10 million new friend connections made everyday • Tagged “Meet Me” application produces 40 million daily page views • Over 100,000 user generated virtual gifts, TAGS and skins available. • Average of 75,000 – 100,000 new daily registrants
• Hubspot luanches a report of Twitter.com registrations and shows a decrease in rate of adoption. There’s also useful data within the report about followers and their behaviors based on a sample methodology. Hubspot, Jan 19, 2010. • Sysmos launched a report about global usage of Twitter, with most adoption in US. Interesting that the key nugget is “… the number of U.S. unique users was 50.8%, a sharp drop from 62.1% in June. This suggests the use of Twitter outside
the U.S. has experienced significant growth over the past six months.”, Jan 14th, Sysmos. Thanks Jean in the comments for the submission. • Data indicates that many Twitter users are not active. read “The number of Twitter users has climbed to a lofty 75 million, but the growth rate of new users is slowing and a lot of current Twitterers are inactive” ComputerWorld, Jan 28 • Twitter themselves finally publish numbers indicating there are 50mm tweets created each day. ”Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007. By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day—that’s an average of 600 tweets per second. (Yes, we have TPS reports.)” Twitter, Feb 22 • Twitter co-owner Biz Stone has revealed that the site now has 105 million registered users. He revealed the startling number at a Twitter developer conference, aptly title Chirp, and also mentioned that 30,000 people a day are signing up to tweet. Techradar, from Twitter, April 14
Developed by namesake Orkut Buyokkokten, a Google software engineer, during personal time allowed to him through his employer, Orkut is not currently a part of Google’s product portfolio, though some day it may be. To become an Orkut member, one has to be invited by another member. Although feeling a little “high schoolish,” absence from Orkut doesn’t last too long. Eventually, one of your acquaintenances is sure to join and, in turn, invite you to join as well. Once invited, you must fill out a form where you can choose to reveal some very detailed information about yourself: your birthday, interests, geographic location, marital status, etc. You can even post a picture of yourself. From there, you can ask your friends to join and maybe make some new ones too. As of now, Orkut has no ads nor are there any dues to join. So far, the site is strictly someone’s labor of love.
Like with Orkut, when joining Friendster you are asked to answer some basic questions, though Friendster’s questions are not so detailed as Orkut’s. Friendster lives up to its name — it is more of a “meet market” for people actively seeking to meet others rather than to simply network. Friendster does display advertisements and sponsored links.
• As Yelp has grown from fledgling start-up to critical mass website, serving over 30 million visitors a month. Brainstorm tech, April 2010.
• Find out who is creating the top YouTube videos and who is embedding them. “The study also looked at the demographics of bloggers who embed these videos. In general, 20-to-35-year-old bloggers embed most of the videos (57%), followed by teenagers (20%) and bloggers over 35 (20%).” Including stats on average number of comments, duration and other tidbits, Read Write Web, Feb 15.
Mobile, Desktop and Social Networks
• There’s a sea change in more people using social networks from mobile devices rather than desktop clients “more people are using the mobile web to socialize (91%) compared to the 79% of desktop users who do the same. It appears that the mobile phone is actually a better platform for social networking than the PC.
Social Networking Sites in the Indian Market
Social networking has become a rage in India. More than 33 million Indians — which is roughly 84% of the country’s total internet audience — visited social networking sites in July this year, according to the latest figures released by comScore.com. This makes India the seventh largest market worldwide for social networking, after the U.S., China, Germany, Russian Federation, Brazil and the U.K. What is more interesting is the impact the social networking sites are having on the Internet experience. According to comScore.com, “The total Indian social
networking audience grew 43 percent in the past year, more than tripling the rate of growth of the total Internet audience in India.” The charge is led by Twitter and Facebook, which are the current favourites of Indians. Orkut, which was the number one social networking site in India, has slipped to the second position.
Facebook.com has overtaken Orkut.com and become the number one social networking site in India. According to the latest figures released by comScore.com on Wednesday, Facebook.com set up a scorching pace through 2009. Its unique user base soared from 7.47 million in July 2009 to 20.87 million in July 2010 – a stunning growth of 179%. Against this, Orkut.com could register a growth of 16% — from 17.06 million to 19.87 million during the same period. BharatStudent.com with 4.4 million visitors climbed the podium by notching the third spot. Twitter.com, which was the fifth most popular social networking site, recorded an astonishing growth of 239%. Two Yahoo! properties — Yahoo! Pulse (3.5 million visitors) and Yahoo! Buzz (1.8 million visitors) — also made the top ten. More than 33 million Internet users — age 15 and older in India — visited social networking sites in July, representing 84 percent of the total Internet audience
Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people's real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Product Facebook, the product, is made up of core site functions and applications. Fundamental features to the experience on Facebook are a person’s Home page and Profile. The Home page includes News Feed, a personalized feed of his or her friends updates. The Profile displays information about the individual he or she has chosen to share, including interests, education and work background and contact information. Facebook also includes core applications – Photos, Events, Videos, Groups, and Pages – that let people connect and share in rich and engaging ways. Additionally, people can communicate with one another through Chat, personal messages, Wall posts, Pokes, or Status Updates. Technology Facebook is one of the most-trafficked sites in the world and has had to build infrastructure to support this rapid growth. The company is the largest user in the world of memcached, an open source caching system, and has one of the largest MySQL database clusters anywhere. The site is largely written in PHP though the engineering team developed a way to programmatically transform PHP source code into C++ to gain performance benefits. Facebook has built a lightweight but powerful multi-language RPC framework that seamlessly and easily ties together infrastructure services written in any language, running on any platform. The company has created a custom-built search engine serving millions of queries a day, completely distributed and entirely in-memory, with real-time updates. Facebook relies heavily on open source software and releases large pieces of its own software infrastructure as open source. Platform Facebook Platform is a development platform that enables companies and engineers to deeply integrate with the Facebook website and gain access to millions
of users through the social graph. Facebook is a part of millions of people’s lives all around the world providing unparalleled distribution potential for applications and the opportunity to build a business that is highly relevant to people’s lives.
People on Facebook * * * * More than 500 million active users 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day Average user has 130 friends People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Activity on Facebook * There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages) * Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events * Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month * More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month. Global Reach * More than 70 translations available on the site * About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States * Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application Platform * Entrepreneurs and developers from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform * People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day * Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites * Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day * More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore's U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore's Global Top 100 websites *
Mobile * There are more than 250 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. * People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users. * There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
2003 • October 28, 2003: Mark Zuckerberg releases Facemash, the predecessor to Facebook. It was described as a Harvard University version of Hot or Not. 2004 • January 2004: Zuckerberg begins writing Facebook. • January 11, 2004: Zuckerberg registers thefacebook.com domain. • February 4, 2004: Zuckerberg launches Facebook. • March 2004: Facebook expands to Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and Yale University. • April 13, 2004: Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin form Thefacebook.com LLC, a partnership • June 2004: Facebook receives its first investment from Peter Thiel for US$500,000. • June 2004: Facebook incorporates into a new company, and Sean Parker (early employee of Napster) becomes its president. • June 2004: Facebook moves its base of operations to Palo Alto, California. • August 2004: To compete with growing campus-only service i2hub, Zuckerberg launches Wirehog. It is a precursor to Facebook Platform applications. • September 2004: ConnectU files a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and other Facebook founders 2005 • May 26, 2005: Accel Partners invests $13 million into Facebook. • July 19, 2005: News Corp acquires MySpace, spurring rumors about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company. • August 23, 2005: Facebook acquires Facebook.com domain for $200,000. • September 2005: Facebook launches a high school version of the website.
2006 • 2006: A leaked cash flow statement shows that Facebook had a net loss of $3.63 million for the 2005 fiscal year. • March 28, 2006: A potential acquisition of Facebook is reportedly under negotiations, for $750 million first, then later $2 billion. • September 2006: Facebook discusses with Yahoo! about the latter possibly acquiring the former, for $1 billion. • September 26, 2006: Facebook is open to everyone aged 13 and over, and with a valid email address. 2008 • June 2008: Facebook settles both lawsuits, ConnectU vs Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg et al. and intellectual property theft, Wayne Chang et al. over The Winklevoss Chang Group's Social Butterfly project. The settlement effectively had Facebook acquiring ConnectU for $20 million in cash and over $1.2 million in shares, valued at $45 million based on $15 billion company valuation. • August 2008: Employees reportedly privately sell their shares to venture capital firms, at a company valuation of between $3.75 billion to $5 billion. • October 2008: Facebook sets up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
2009 • August 2009: Facebook acquires FriendFeed. • September 2009: Facebook claims that it has turned cash flow positive for the first time. 2010 • February 2010: Facebook acquires Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions. • April 2, 2010: Facebook announces the acquisition of photo-sharing service called Divvyshot for an undisclosed amount. • April 19, 2010: Facebook introduces Community Pages, which are Pages that are populated with articles from Wikipedia. • April 21, 2010: Facebook introduces Instant Personalization, starting with Microsoft Docs, Yelp, and Pandora. • June 2010: Facebook employees sell shares of the company on SecondMarket at a company valuation of $11.5 billion. • October 1, 2010: The Social Network, a film about the beginnings of Facebook directed by David Fincher is released. The film is met with widespread critical
acclaim as well as commercial success; however, Mark Zuckerberg claims the film to be a largely inaccurate account of what happened. 2011 • January 2011: $500 million is invested into Facebook for 1% of the company, placing its worth at $50 billion.
General Features of Facebook
On April 5, 2008, Facebook pre-released Facebook Chat. As of April 23, 2008, Facebook Chat was released to the entire Facebook user base. Users are only able to chat with their Facebook friends and on a one-to-one basis, although a user may chat with multiple friends simultaneously through separate chat interfaces. Instant messaging clients that currently support Facebook Chat include AOL Instant Messenger, eBuddy, Flock, Miranda IM, Trillian, Empathy, Digsby, Pidgin, Adium, Nimbuzz, FIM (Windows Mobile / Windows Phone 7), Palringo (Windows Mobile), Meebo, Tokbox as well as QIP Infium with a Firefox plugin. Windows Live Messenger 2011 (Wave 4) can connect to Facebook as well. Facebook Chat can also be run on the desktop using Gabtastik, a dedicated web chat browser. Facebook Chat can also be run on the iPhone or iPad using Facebook Chat for iPhone app. On May 13, 2008, a Facebook developer announced that they are working on XMPP support, allowing hundreds of instant messaging clients to interoperate with the service; this functionality became operational on February 10, 2010.
Facebook Credits Facebook Credits are a virtual currency you can use to buy gifts, and virtual goods in many games and applications on the Facebook platform. As of July 2010, users of Facebook can purchase Facebook credits in Australian Dollars, British Pound, Canadian Dollars, Chilean Peso, Colombian Peso, Danish Krone, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen, Norwegian Krone, Swedish Krona, Swiss Franc, Turkish Lira, US Dollars, and Venezuelan Bolivar. Facebook credits can be used on many popular games such as Happy Aquarium, Happy Island, Zoo Paradise, Happy Pets, Hello City, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars. As on 30 August 2010, Facebook gifts were disabled and from then on, Facebook credits are being used for the Games alone.
On August 13, 2010 Facebook launched a new service called "'Facebook Live'", a live streaming video channel that is intended to keep Facebook users updated to what is happening on the social networking site. The service, powered by Livestream, will feature videos from Facebook staff
members and celebrity interviews, but not designed for Facebook users to showcase their own videos. All the content shown on Facebook Live will have some tie-in with Facebook products, features, or how people are using the site. Facebook said this is not an opening to get them into the video distribution space. The first official guest was America Ferrera, the leading actress in the television series Ugly Betty. She discussed her new independent film The Dry Land, that was being promoted almost exclusively through social media channels.
According to a June 2010 report by Network World, Facebook said that it was offering "experimental, non-production" support for IPv6, the longanticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol. The news about Facebook's IPv6 support was expected; Facebook told Network World in February 2010, that it planned to support native IPv6 user requests "by the midpoint of this year." In a presentation at the Google IPv6 Implementors Conference, Facebook's network engineers said it was "easy to make the site available on v6." Facebook said it deployed dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 support on its routers, and that it made no changes to its hosts in order to support IPv6. Facebook also said it was supporting an emerging encapsulation mechanism known as Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP), which separates Internet addresses from endpoint identifiers to improve the scalability of IPv6 deployments. "Facebook was the first major Web site on LISP (v4 and v6)," Facebook engineers said during their presentation. Facebook said that using LISP allowed them to deploy IPv6 services quickly with no extra cost. Facebook's IPv6 services are available at www.v6.facebook.com, m.v6.facebook.com, www.lisp6.facebook.com and m.lisp6.facebook.com.
Messages and Inbox
Since the website's founding, it has allowed users to send messages to each other. A Facebook user can send a message to any number of his/her friends at a time. Deleting a message from one's inbox does not delete it from the inbox of other users, thus disabling a sender to redo a message sent by him. On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced a new "Facebook Messages" service. In a media event that day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "It's true that people will be able to have a @facebook.com email addresses, but it's not email." The launch of such a feature had been anticipated for some time before the announcement, with some calling it a "Gmail killer." The system, to be available to all of the website's users, combines text messaging, instant messaging, emails, and regular messages, and will include privacy settings similar to those of other Facebook services.
Networks, Groups, and Like Pages
Facebook allows different networks and groups to which many users can join. It also allows privacy settings on basis of networks. Groups are used for discussions and events etc. Groups are a way of enabling a number of people
to come together online to share information and discuss specific subjects. They are increasingly used by clubs, companies and public sector organizations to engage with stakeholders - be they members of the public, employees, members, service users, shareholders or customers. A group includes but is not limited to the following: the members who have joined, recent news contents, wall contents, photos, posted items, videos and all associated comments of such items. In this respect, groups are similar to pages but contain more features. Groups are limited to 300 groups per user, though it is possible to find some users with more than 300 groups because it was possible to dodge this limit in a few ways, until recently when they fixed those exploits. The urls of group pages start with http://www.facebook.com/group... and do not include the name of the group. Individuals or companies can create "Like Pages" which allows fans of an individual, organization, product, service, or concept to join a Facebook fan club. Like Pages look and behave much like a user's personal private profile, with some significant differences. Public Profiles are integrated with Facebook's advertising system, allowing Public Profile owners to easily advertise to Facebook's users. Owners can send updates to their fans, which shows up on their home page. They also have access to insights and analytics of their fan base. Early on, users had the option to "become a fan" of the page until 19 April 2010 when the option was later changed to "like" the page. While an individual with a personal profile can acquire up to 5,000 friends, a "Like Page" can have an unlimited number of "Likers". "Like Pages" can also be customized by adding new Tabs using the Static FBML application. This powerful feature can bring additional functionality to a page such as e-mail collection, specialized content, or a landing page for sales activity. The urls of "Like Pages" start with http://www.facebook.com/pages... and do include the name of the individual etc. liked.
On 6 September 2006, Ruchi Sangvhi announced a new home page feature called News Feed. Originally, when users logged into Facebook, they were presented with a customizable version of their own profile. The new layout, by contrast, created an alternative home page in which users saw a constantly updated list of their friends' Facebook activity. News Feed highlights information that includes profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates. This has enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause. News Feed also shows conversations taking place between the walls of a user's friends. An integral part of the News Feed interface is the Mini-Feed, a news stream on the user's profile page that shows updates about that user. Unlike in the News Feed, the user can delete events from the Mini-Feed after they appear so that they are no longer visible to profile visitors. Initially, the addition of the News Feed caused some discontent among Facebook users. Many users complained that the News Feed was too
cluttered and full of undesired information. Others were concerned that the News Feed made it too easy for other people to track activities like changes in relationship status, events, and conversations with other users. This tracking is often casually referred to as "Facebook-Stalking." In response to this dissatisfaction, creator Mark Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site's failure to include appropriate customizable privacy features. Thereafter, users were able to control what types of information were shared automatically with friends. Currently, users may prevent friends from seeing updates about several types of especially private activities, although other events are not customizable in this way. With the introduction of the "New Facebook" - in early February 2010 - came a total redesign of the pages, several new features and changes to News Feeds. On their personal Feeds (now integrated with Walls), users were given the option of removing updates from any application as well as choosing the size they show up on the page. Furthermore, the community feed (containing recent actions by the user's friends) contained options to instantly select whether to hear more or less about certain friends or applications.
Notifications of the more important events, for example, someone sharing a link on the user's wall or commenting on a post the user previously commented on, briefly appear for a few seconds in the bottom left as a popup message (if the user is online), and a red counter is updated on the toolbar at the top, thus allowing the user to keep track of all the most recent notifications.
On September 2010, rumors of a "Facebook Phone" similar to Google's Android, circulated in business and tech industry news. In an interview with well-known technology blog Techcrunch, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was noted to have said, "Our strategy is very horizontal. We're trying to build a social layer for everything," while denying that they were attempting to compete with the Apple iPhone or Android.
The poke feature is intended to be a "nudge" to attract the attention of another user. Many Facebook users use this feature to attract attention or say "hello" to their friends. A previous version of Facebook's FAQ gave additional insight into the origin of the feature, stating: "When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings." There are several applications on Facebook which extend the idea of the poke feature by allowing users to perform other actions to their friends— such as "kick" or "wave to". People often reciprocate pokes back and forth until one side gives up, an event known as a "Poke War".
Many new smartphones offer access to the Facebook services either through their web-browsers or applications. The Facebook iPhone-compatible web site was launched August 2007 and as of July 2008 over 1.5 million people used it regularly, at the point when a free application for the iOS named "Facebook for iPhone" was launched. Version 2.0 of this app was released in September 2008 and featured improved services such as being able to respond to friend requests and notifications. Version 3.0 was released in August 2009 and added features such as events, and uploading video with an iPhone 3GS. In the latest update for the Facebook for iPhone app, GPS use is also integrated in the app under the section "places" in which you can discover moments and experiences when you and your friends are at the same place at the same time. This app is compatible with iPhone 3G, 3Gs, and 4, running iOS 3.0 or later. Nokia offers a Facebook app on its Ovi Store for Nokia S60 devices such as the N97 and contains most of the functionality of the full website. Google's Android 2.0 OS automatically includes an official Facebook app. The first device to use this is the Motorola Droid. The app has options to sync Facebook friends with contacts, which adds profile pictures and status updates to the contacts list. Microsoft also offers an Facebook application for its Windows Mobile platform, including features such as messaging, uploading pictures and video straight from the device, managing profile information, contact integration allowing users to call anyone in their friends list that has their number in their profile information. It is also possible to add an chat feature to Windows Mobile via third-party software. Research In Motion also offers a Facebook application for the BlackBerry. It includes a range of functions, including an ability to integrate Facebook events into the BlackBerry calendar, and using Facebook profile pictures for Caller ID.
Facebook has a feature called "status updates" (also referred to simply as "status") which allows users to post messages for all their friends to read. In turn, friends can respond with their own comments, and also press the "Like" button to show that they enjoyed reading it. A user's most recent status update appears on the user's wall, and is also noted in the "Recently updated" section of a user's friend list. Originally, the purpose of the feature was to allow users to inform their friends of their current "status" (for example, their current feelings, whereabouts, or actions) by referring to themselves in the third person (for example, "George is happy" or "John is with Robert at his house"). However, users are no longer required to write in the third person. Facebook originally prompted the status update with "Username is..." and Facebook users filled in the rest. However, on December 13, 2007, the requirement to start a status update with is was removed. The question "What are you doing right
now?" was introduced. In March 2009, the status update question was changed from "What are you doing right now?" to "What's on your mind?" In 2009, Facebook added the feature to tag certain friends (or groups etc.) within one's status update by adding an @ character before their name, turning the friend's name into a link to their profile and including the message on the friend's wall.
On December 14, 2009, Facebook launched its own URL shortener based on FB.me domain name. From that point on, all links based on facebook.com can be accessed after fb.me, which is seven characters shorter.
Starting June 13, 2009, Facebook introduced a feature that allowed users to choose a Facebook username to make user location easier. The user is able to direct others to their page through a simple link such as www.facebook.com/username rather than an otherwise complex URL. This feature on Facebook quickly spread, with more than 1 million users registering usernames in the first three hours. Usernames are now available to any existing or newly registered user. According to the FAQ, "Facebook reserves the right to remove and/or reclaim any username at any time for any reason".
The Wall is a space on each user's profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see while displaying the time and date the message was written. One user's Wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see his or her full profile, and different users' Wall posts show up in an individual's News Feed. Many users use their friends' Walls for leaving short, temporal notes. More private discourse is saved for messages, which are sent to a user's inbox, and are visible only to the sender and recipient(s) of the message, much like email. In July 2007, Facebook allowed users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas previously the Wall was limited to text only. In May 2008, the Wallto-Wall for each profile was limited to only 40 posts. Recently Facebook has allowed users to insert html code in boxes attached to the wall via apps like Static FBML which has allowed marketers to track use of their fan pages with Google Analytics.
On March 24, 2011, Facebook announced that its new product - Facebook Questions - facilitates short, poll-like answers in addition to long-form responses, and also links directly to relevant items in Facebook's directory of "fan pages."
Facebook events are a way for members to let friends know about upcoming events in their community and to organize social gatherings. Events require an event name, network, host name, event type, start time, location, and a guest list of friends invited. Events can be Public or Private. Private events cannot be found in searches and are by invitation only. People who have not been invited cannot view Private event description, Wall or photos. They also will not see any Feed stories about the event. When setting up an event the user can choose to allow friends to upload photos or videos. Note that unlike real world events, all events are treated as separate entities (when the reality is some events sit inside other events, going to one event would preclude going to another, and so on). In February 2011, Facebook began to use the hCalendar microformat to mark up events, and the hCard microformat for the events' venues, enabling the extraction of details to users' own calendar or mapping applications.
In May 2007, Facebook introduced the Facebook Marketplace allowing users to post free classified ads within the following categories: For Sale, Housing, Jobs, and Other. Ads can be posted in either available or wanted format. The market place is available for all Facebook users and is currently free. In 2009, Facebook transferred ownership of the Marketplace to Oodle.
Facebook Notes was introduced on 22 August 2006, a blogging feature that allowed tags and embeddable images. Users were later able to import blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging services. A recent use of Notes includes the Internet meme - "25 Random Things About Me" which involves writing 25 things about the user that their friends don't already know about them and using the tag function to ask 25 friends to also do so. Nearly 5 million "25 Random Things" notes were written on Facebook profiles in the first week of February 2009.
Facebook announced Places on August 18, 2010. It is a feature that lets users "check in" to Facebook using a mobile device to let a user's friends know where they are at the moment. This feature is already known from Foursquare, a social network where users share their geolocation data via mobile phones. In November 2010, Facebook announced "Deals", a subset of the Places offering, which allows for users to check in from restaurants, supermarkets, bars, and coffee shops using an app on a mobile device and then be rewarded discounts, coupons, and free merchandise. This feature is marketed as a digital version of a loyalty card or coupon where a customer gets rewarded for loyal buying behavior.
Available countries: places is currently available only in some countries: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, Finland, Ireland, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Philippines, with many more on the way. Supported phones: On October 10, 2010, Places became available on Blackberry, after iPhone. The Android OS is also places capable. Other users, including Windows Mobile users, must use a HTML5 browser to use Places via Facebook Touch Site.
Facebook Platform The Facebook Platform provides a set of APIs and tools which enable 3rd party developers to integrate with the "open graph" — whether through applications on Facebook.com or external websites and devices. Launched on May 24, 2007, Facebook Platform has evolved from enabling development just on Facebook.com to one also supporting integration across the web and devices. Facebook Platform Statistics as of May 2010: • • • • • More than one million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries More than 550,000 active applications currently on Facebook Platform Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications More than 250,000 websites have integrated with Facebook Platform More than 100 million Facebook users engage with Facebook on external websites every month
Third party companies such as Adonomics, Kontagent and Mixpanel provide application metrics, and blogs such as AppRate, Inside Facebook, and Face Reviews have sprung up in response to the clamor for Facebook applications. On July 4, 2007, Altura Ventures announced the "Altura 1 Facebook Investment Fund," becoming the world's first Facebook-only venture capital firm. On August 29, 2007, Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, to give attention to the more engaging applications, following criticism that ranking applications only by the number of people who had installed the application was giving an advantage to the highly viral, yet useless applications. Tech blog Valleywag has criticized Facebook Applications, labeling them a "cornucopia of uselessness." Others have called for limiting third-party applications so the Facebook "user experience" is not degraded. Primarily attempting to create viral applications is a method that has certainly been employed by numerous Facebook application developers.
Stanford University even offered a class in the Fall of 2007, entitled, Computer Science (CS) 377W: "Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook". Numerous applications created by the class were highly successful, and ranked amongst the top Facebook applications, with some achieving over 3.5 million users in a month.
In May 2010, Facebook began testing and software production.The Questions is, an application in which users submit questions for their friends to answer. It is expected to compete directly with services such as Yahoo! Answers.
One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums of photos, tag friends helped by face recognition technology, and comment on photos. According to Facebook, •
50+ billion user photos (in July 2010) More than 1.5 petabytes (1.5 million gigabytes) of photo storage used (in May 2009). 220 million photos added each week which take up 25 terabytes of disk space (in May 2009). 3+ billion photo images served to users every day (in May 2007). 550,000+ images served per second during peak traffic windows (in May 2009).
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During the time that Facebook released its platform, it also released an application of its own for sharing videos on Facebook. Users can add their videos with the service by uploading video, adding video through Facebook Mobile, and using a webcam recording feature. Additionally, users can "tag" their friends in videos they add much like the way users can tag their friends in photos, except the location of the friend in the video is not displayed. Users also have the option of video messaging. Videos cannot be placed in categories, whereas photos are sorted by albums.
As of March 2011, Facebook supports the following languages: • • • • Afrikaans Bahasa Melayu Bahasa Indonesia Catalan • • • • • • Croatian Chinese Norwegian Polish Portuguese Brazilian • • • • • Bosnian language Esperanto Basque Faroese Irish • • • Chilean Spanish Venezuelan Spanish Mexican Spanish
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Czech Welsh Danish Dutch English (UK) English (US) English (Upsidedown) English (Pirate) Spanish Castilian Spanish Filipino French Canadian French Korean German Hungarian • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Portuguese Romanian Russian Slovene Slovak Thai Vietnamese Turkish Finnish Greek Hebrew Arabic Azerbaijani Lithuanian Estonian
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Icelandic Galician Swahili Latvian Xhosa Zulu Kurdish Leet Speak Latin Albanian Javanese Aymara Cherokee Swedish Indian English
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Colombian Spanish Malagasy Maltese Uzbek Quechua Somali Tatar Yiddish Limburgish Chinese Simplified Japanese Tamil Telugu
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Important Statistics regarding Facebook
SWOT Analysis of Facebook Strengths
• • • • • • • • • • • • Rapid growth in US and international One of the top leading social networking sites One of the fastest evolving and adopted websites Attracts top talent from Google Easy use, user friendly Customer loyalty Strong financial position Leader in market share for industry Translated in over 70 languages Millions of users Acts as a virtual reality Fun element
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Businesses can connect to consumers Advertising Businesses can create profiles and pages for free Free #1 app on all cell phones Connect with old friends Easy-to-use features A way to follow friends, celebrities, companies
• • • • • • • • • • • • Security/Privacy Complex interface Becoming corporate Over use of advertising Constant change to page design Confusing for Businesses to use (properly market, advertrise, etc.) Liabilities regarding bugs and problems that users face when operating the website Don't get real answers to your problems, have to figure out problems based on FAQs Lack of ability to customize page Flash animation banners are distracting and need to be positioned differently so it won't get in the way of the user Too many irrelevant and useless applications Facebook chat has too many glitches in its system
• • • • Become a default address book Creates business partners Advertising impact will be an opportunistic approach in reaching target markets globally Way of showing consumer behavior for businesses
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A way of drawing people into stores by offering promotions etc. to them via the facebook page Businesses can collect user data through polls and surveys Communication that is free Buy/sell via Facebook marketplace Innovation Facebook Email Facebook Video chat
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Other social media networks (twitter, etc.) Social networks come and go (examples :- myspace, friendster,hi5) New entrants into the industry Privacy settings- leak millions of photos a year Spamming Users get bored easily when using applications and programs(one time usage)
Search. Currently Google is the king of search. But Google cannot keep me up to speed on the cutting edge of news quite like twitter search can. So what if Facebook enabled search. Not the search they have right now… but a status/activity search. A public timeline search. The proposed facebook search feature could be used to determine who is training for a marathon. Sports companies could then direct targeted messages to them for my brand’s shoes? Or perhaps people are uploading pictures of their recent visit to Kerala (in facebook) imagine what the Kerala travel and Tourism Department would pay to direct ads towards that user in 6 months or in 9 months as they plan their next trip. For what it’s worth, KTDC, might pay more to advertise to that user.
Enabling the more reach/depth
Facebook should change it’s privacy settings to allow for this. Right now you are allowed to set privacy settings for almost all modules/parts of facebook/apps to the following choices: • • • • • Friends of Friends Only Friends Some Friends Only Me Specific Networks
I recommend adding the following categories: • • Everyone (General Public) All Facebook Users
Google could now index the Everyone content. Facebook could attract new users as more Google searches for general information/content would return a facebook page. Currently if you search for a person’s name Facebook will be on page one. But, if you search for a fact that is on their profile, Facebook will not show up in the results. An example would be a search for “knee replacement.” Facebook potentially has a lot of people talking about having, or having had their knee replaced. But that content will not show on a Google search for it. If it did, more people would see facebook content, more people would signup for accounts, more ads would be generated, more views of ads, more clicks of ads. All all that equals more money for Facebook.
Why All Facebook Users?
Now comes the fun part. Any company with its advertisements on facebook would love to search the entire facebook userbase for people talking about key terms for their brand. This would essentially be the twitter search for facebook. They could also find out the trends in the facebook crowd. Because the facebook population is a different crowd than twitter, trends could be very different! This type of information availability has been hinted at; it is referred to as a facebook public timeline. Facebook has a larger userbase, more content and in general different content.
What else could this affect?
If Facebook opened an API to this “public timeline.” Then a world of possibilities would be open. Imaging a Facebook Deck, or a Facebookirl. Third party developers could then integrate facebook trends or facebook public timeline search into their application. The applications are limitless, an app that adjusts your adwords budget for an SEM campaign based on trends in facebook, or an application that
allowed you to monitor responses on facebook to activities your brand is currently doing in real life or on hulu, or on TV. Then there is monetization which seems to be difficult for both twitter and facebook. If they went the route of sponsored ads on searches they would finally be able to be viable. I know of brands who would purchase sponsored ads on either netowrk’s search tool today. I’d recommend all my SEM clients to integrate twitter search and facebook search as a part of their campaigns. Twitter is considering sponsored ads with it’s search feature. If Facebook added the search feature they could increase the over all cost per click on their current paid ads which would then bring in real revenue.
Studies and statistics show that a sizeable proportion of facebook users are students. A huge window of opportunity opens up if facebook could tie up with online study material site like ‘scribd’, ‘authorstream’, ‘docmaster’ etc by which a facebook user could log in to these study materials sites and download/refer areas of their interest. Facebook could potentially be a safer and more private social networking site by improving upon its security features and making these security features user-friendly.
1 What is your age group? 19 Below >24 19 24 2 What is your gender? Mal Female e
3 Do you have a Facebook account? Ye No s
If your answer is 'Yes ', please jump to question 6. If your answer is 'No', please jump to question 5.
4 Why do you not have a Facebook account? Do not know about Facebook Do not require Facebook to interact
If your answer is 'Do not require Facebook to interact', you already finish all the questions. Please mail the filled questionnaire back If your answer is 'Do not know about Facebook ', you already finish all the questions. Please mail the filled questionnaire back
How long have you been a Facebook user? Less than a month More than a month but less than 3 months More than 3 months
What do you use Facebook for? Please rate the following 7 activities according to the frequency of usage with 1 being the most frequent and 7 being the least. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 Find new friends 7 Play interactive games 8 Play non-interactive games 9 Chat (including comments and wall) 10 Check out how your friends are doing(photos, walls etc)
11 Update your profile 12 To pass time 13 In the last 3 months, how many strangers have you initiated to add as friends? 1 11 Non 166>20 e 5 10 2 15 0 14 Would you accept strangers who added you as friends on Facebook? Ye No s
15 Would you like to have an intensive search engine be built into facebook? Yes N o When adding or accepting new friends, what criteria do you look at? . Please rank the activities according to importance, with 1 being the most important to you 1 2 3 4 5 16 Common hobbies and interests 17 Games you play 18 Looks (eg. an attractive display picture) 19 Number of common friends 20 Gender With all factors constant, that is, hobbies/number of common friends etc, are you more likely to: (Rank from 1-3, with 1 being most likely), whether you would add or accept a friend with: 21 No display picture 1 2 3 22 An attractive display picture 1 2 3 23 Not so attractive display picture 1 2 3 24 How frequently do you log into Facebook? Several times a Daily day Weekly Less than monthly 25 On average, how long do you spend on Facebook per week? Less than an hour Monthly
1 - (just under) 2 hours 2 - (just under) 3 hours 3 - (just under) 4 hours 4 hours or more 26 Would you like the security and privacy measures of facebook to improve? Yes No Can’t say 27 How much more time does Facebook allow you to interact with your friends, including those that are separated geographically? Littl Aver Significant e age
The questionnaire was mailed to 50 participants who answered it and few of the important results have been illustrated below:-
• Facebook could probably improve their security and privacy measures in the wake of many users posting and sharing private information and photos • Facebook could also ensure that it doesn’t make the same mistakes as social networking sites that once had the largest no. of members and get complacent on its wave of success of being the no.1 social networking site. • It should constantly innovate with new ideas and constantly take the users’ recommendations into consideration. • A built-in search engine would prevent the users from navigating to other search engines and thus spend less time on facebook.
Facebook has come a long way from its launch in 2004 and has overtaken sites such as Myspace, Orkut anf Hi5 to become the
No.1 social networking site only through its strategy of constant innovation, wide range of features, user-friendly applications and constant churning out and updating to the latest technology available.
• • • • • • Wikipedia Scribd.com Docmaster.com http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites http://social-networking-websites-review.toptenreviews.com/ http://blog.compete.com/2009/02/09/facebook-myspacetwitter-social-network/ • http://www.wealthvest.com/blog/sean-browne/statisticssocial-networks-will-recieve-11-of-online-ad-spending-in2011/ • http://www.labnol.org/india/social-sites-india/18649/