mark zuckerberg

David Gelles

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

  • Speculation about Facebook‘s finances has once again been swirling, but chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at least provided a bit of clarity. Over the weekend VentureBeat said Facebook was about to close a $150m round to buy out shares from hundreds of employees. Then TechCrunch chimed in with a report that the company turned down a $200m term sheet that valued the company at $8bn because the investors wanted a board seat. Facebook is notoriously tight-lipped, but today Mr Zuckerberg said that his company is in no immediate need of capital, and that he does hope to take Facebook public, but not for a couple of years.
  • Could the worst be over? Hewlett-Packard said that stronger than expected Chinese and US consumer markets helped it beat Wall Street profit projections for the second quarter, and the world’s leading personal computer company by revenue struck a note of cautious optimism on the economy as a whole.

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David Gelles

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.

Starting today, users will have a week to vote between two sets of documents: a revised version of the terms of use released in February that incorporates user feedback and clarifies language about Facebook’s relationship to content posted on the site, or the existing terms of use that still include controversial language. Read more