Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has just penned an editorial for the Washington Post, answering his critics and announcing that changes are on the way.
Mr Zuckerberg writes of two substantive changes coming soon — drastically simplified privacy settings, and an easy way to opt-out of third party services such as the recently launched Instant Personalisation feature. These changes are in line with what we reported on Saturday, when we revealed plans for Facebook’s “master control.”
Mr Zuckerberg, who has been criticised for not being more forthcoming in recent weeks, took responsibility for his company’s overreach. “The biggest message we have heard recently is that people want easier control over their information,” he wrote. “Simply put, many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.” Read more
That didn’t take long. It was just in mid-September that Facebook said it had reached 300m users (and was cashflow positive, to boot).
Now comes news that the social networking behemoth has added another 50m users just in time for the holidays. With 350m users, Facebook is now firmly entrenched as the fourth-largest property on the web (after Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, respectively).
Having achieved this massive scale, Facebook is contending with a new host of challenges. Read more
Silicon Valley’s commitment to shareholder democracy – or to public shareholder democracy as opposed to the influence wielded by venture capital firms – does not seem to be strong.
The news that Facebook has established a dual-class share structure, converting its existing shareholders to Class B stock carrying 10 times the voting rights of Class A shares, suggests that (despite its denials) Facebook is readying itself for an initial public offering.
It is also falling in line with Google, which created a dual-class share structure for its IPO in 2004, which also gave 10 times the voting power to some shareholders. Eric Schmidt, the company’s chief executive, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, its co-founders, control the majority voting rights as a result. Read more
Responding to concerns that it was invading users’ privacy and taking ownership of their content, Facebook will let its members choose what terms of service govern the popular social networking site.