Facebook users seem divided into at least three camps: Those who couldn’t care less about changes, those who complain over each one, and those who complain about the complainers because, they say, we’re all using Facebook for free.
That’s the part I want to address.
Facebook is “free,” yes, in a monetary sense. We don’t have to use a credit card to build a profile, add pictures or find friends. PayPal isn’t required before you “Like” a business Page.
But we are paying for the playground we’re using–with information.
It’s the barter system. We’ve even got fees behind the scenes, though instead of paying extra ATM charges for the privilege of getting fast cash, we’re paying for Facebook’s services by giving advertisers every last ounce of information they can get out of us.
Think about it. Everything we like, post, comment on, and now read, listen or watch is worth a LOT of advertising money. Just your presence on Facebook alone means you’re subject to advertising.
Fair exchange? Well, that’s the continuing debate.
As Facebook keeps changing the terms of the barter agreement, people keep getting ticked off. We know Facebook isn’t putting the customer–us–first*.
Facebook is a business, and the majority of its changes are to aid the people who DO pay them–the advertisers.
This sounds like a textbook economy lesson (and I’m no economist, so I may be getting some of this wrong), but if my information is worth that much, should that also mean I have some say in what I reveal and how it’s data-mined, regardless of the “free” service I’m using?
Perhaps we’re just lucky if we can get some use out of these changes ourselves! Now if only they could give us the Dislike button…
What’s your take on Facebook’s changes?
ETA: I’ve been informed that we’re not the customer, the advertisers are.
ETA #2: An opinion from a friend: “It’s nice that we get something we want, but if we don’t get what we want, but still keep using the service, then that’s free market capitalism.”
As for the below, I still say we’re paying in information. And coming out as bacon. 😛