Wired.com’s Epicenter is asking a question that many people have been whispering recently: Has Facebook gone rogue, and should we be looking for an alternative?
In the wake of Facebook’s new everything-is-public approach and its Graph API, it is difficult not feel Facebook is a different and less friendly social network that it used to be once.
As Epicenter notes, Facebook used to be a happy place to share updates and photos with friends and family, and perhaps play a few games. No matter how Facebook wants to position it, the changes it has implemented are all about the business and driving more revenue as opposed to serving its users better.
Of course, when you get down to brass tacks, a business is about revenue and profits, and if consumers are happy, that’s a bonus. For Facebook, the hard truth is despite having millions of users, it wasn’t making enough make to become a viable business. This explains why Facebook has decided that more public data means more traffic, which, in theory, means more revenue and profits.
If this new approach pisses off some users and privacy advocates along the way, Facebook seems to be saying “Tough, where else are you going to go?”.
Being arrogant is easy when you’re an industry Goliath with more than 400 million users and competitors – MySpace, Friendster, Bebo and Orkut – that are in decline or irrelevant. As much as having a viable alternative to Facebook would be a great thing, such a thing doesn’t exist right now.
As a result, we’re stuck with Facebook. It’s where the action is happening so companies have no choice but to be on Facebook even though they may have some reservations.
As I read recently, Microsoft didn’t really change it’s stripes until Google came along to provide consumers with another option. Facebook will continue to act like a petulant child until another, nice social network start-up emerges. The question is when and what it’s going to look and act like.