Larry BraunerIn Facebook Fumble Draws Broad Rebuke, I stated that the possibility of further Facebook backlash didn’t concern me very much, and that you shouldn’t let Facebook’s speed bump become your speed bump.

I compared the woes of Facebook to those of Microsoft and recommended that you move forward with your Facebook plans.

My approach drew criticism from an online friend I respect, so I reached out to members of my Facebook page to hear their thoughts. The responses I received strengthened my belief that the reaction to Facebook’s misstep would dissipate.

FacebookMany articles were very critical of Facebook’s apparent lack of concern for user privacy and the social networking behemoth’s sharp departure from its previous policies.

One such article was Why Facebook Can’t Be Trusted: Let’s Recognize the Dangers Before Praising It as Web’s Default Marketing Platform posted by Craig Daitch on Ad Age’s Digital Next.

At the same time, Christopher Heine posted No Major Privacy Backlash From Facebook’s 425M Base on ClickZ, a rather moderate reaction to the Facebook episode.

However, a bold article, Ignore The Screams–Facebook’s Aggressive Approach Is Why It Will Soon Become The Most Popular Site In The World by Henry Blodget of Business Insider, confronted the negative press head on and resonated with me like nothing else I read.

Facebook’s aggressiveness on the privacy front is a big reason for the site’s success. The company will survive the latest PR flap, just as it has survived all the other PR flaps. And unless the latest blow-up scares it into changing its ways (let’s hope not), Facebook will continuing growing like a weed until it is by far the most popular web site in the world (and note what “most popular” means: It means that, despite the howling of a tiny minority, more people choose to spend more time on Facebook than any other site in the world).

From a business perspective, in other words, Facebook’s approach to innovation is smart. It’s not always popular, but it works. And if Facebook wants to maintain its competitive edge, it will do what it has to do to smooth over the latest blow-up, and then go forth with the same approach and attitude it has had all along.

Digest the articles referenced above. Then decide for yourself: Facebook backlash — fact, fiction or inconsequential?

Please subscribe and leave a comment. Don’t hesitate to disagree with me. My kids usually do. :-P

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14 Responses to “Facebook Backlash Fact or Fiction”

  1. Small Business Marketing on May 23rd, 2010 6:54 pm

    Excellent Article, Larry!

    As I mentioned on your Facebook page…

    Facebook is a company out to make money. Is it fair of people, who are in no way paying money for all the service they receive from Facebook,to either allow themselves to be marketed to, or pay a fee for the privilege?

    It makes no sense to me… imagine if the supermarket was not allowed to collect and use the information on your “frequent shopper card” to market to you!


  2. SEO Services on May 23rd, 2010 10:44 pm

    Larry, it’s only appropriate that you end your article by mentioning your kids, who, as you say, often disagree with you. I have an 11 year old daughter, the source of no shortage of disagreement with me, and living proof, along with her entire class, that Facebook is here to stay for a long long time, recession or not, privacy issues or not… OK, it hasn’t yet become a verb, like Google (or has it? I have seen the pearl “I have facebooked your mom!”), but we do have a new verb thanks to Facebook (I just tried to *friend* you there but couldn’t find you — where are you lurking in its wilderness?). So FB will be here in spite of FB-bashing, but as a humble SEO and search engine marketer (and BTW I authoritatively disagree with whosoever calls FB a “search engine, as some do”), so yeah, as an SEO, I would genuinely like to know, please tell me in secret — I won’t tell anyone! — is it (or is it not) really possible to, well, you know, “monetize” Facebook? I mean, with all ‘em social marketing tricks and techniques. Have you done it? Does it really work? You just tell me, between friends, OK?

    Cordially yours,


  3. Larry Brauner on May 23rd, 2010 11:18 pm

    I’m sure there are people who monetize Facebook, Philip. I’m not one of them. I do, however, monetize my web presence of which Facebook is just one component.

    My web presence is built around my blog site which serves as my home base or hub. My Facebook page, Facebook profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, Ning social networks, and a variety of social bookmarking sites are my outposts.

    These social media sites and my blog work together to attract, educate, and relate to potential consumers of my social media and web marketing services, and to convert an occasional one into a client.

    The articles I write also support my offline marketing efforts.

    The way in which you would monetize social media would depend on your business objectives which surely differ from mine.

  4. Stocks on Wall Street on May 25th, 2010 2:12 am

    It will be very interesting to see what’s the next step or direction Facebook heads in? Do they continue to succeed or get spammed out like MySpace?

  5. Catherine White on May 25th, 2010 5:52 pm

    So one would call major Account holders who’ve deleted their accounts a howling minority?

    The question is not whether Facebook is here to stay.

    The question remains how secure is a society when there is so little regard for our neighbors boundary line of basic privacy?

  6. Relationship Marketing on May 26th, 2010 6:27 am

    We have to face it. Those who care about the latest exploits of FB represent a very small minority. As long as they don’t do something that will be deemed very dangerous by its users, FB won’t take a significant hit. They’re still very effective for marketers and fun for the common users.

  7. Ajith Edassery on June 6th, 2010 10:40 am

    First timer here :)

    In fact, in my opinion, there is a multi-prong propaganda against Facebook and socnets in general right now. Firstly, it’s from teens parents - and this is the case with twitter etc. Then there’s this group of highly orthodox individuals who want to keep everything private in their lives. Thirdly and more dangerously it’s from orthodox countries itself. Recently Pakistan banned twitter, facebook etc on allegations that some stupid facebook profile had posted something bad about the muslim gods and Islam. Well, let’s wait and see what happens!

  8. Edmonton Real Estate on April 16th, 2011 3:19 pm

    I agree! Many of my colleagues here in the office are finding Facebook’s privacy settings to be quite a concern with our own media activities!


  9. Marco on April 27th, 2011 9:33 am

    @First comment: “…imagine if the supermarket was not allowed to collect and use the information…”

    This is a good point. Why shouldn`t Facebook be allowed to do the same with their users? Nobody forced them to register an account.

    If you have concerns regarding your privacy just don`t use facebook. I think it is as simple as that.

    The only thing that could be better is the lack of information about privacy and how your data is used.

  10. Karen, an expungement attorney on April 27th, 2011 9:23 pm

    “It will be very interesting to see what’s the next step or direction Facebook heads in? Do they continue to succeed or get spammed out like MySpace?”

    I don’t think that Facebook would spam out anytime soon since many of the users here find the games etc entertaining unlike what MySpace offered.

    @Marco, I so agree on what you’ve said. If you’re afraid for your privacy then don’t use Facebook. I think, their constantly fixing their privacy issues though.

  11. Daniel Go on April 29th, 2011 4:50 pm

    Facebook has too many ads on it now. I believe something better is yet to come. A site simpler yet very entertaining. I’ll wait for that.


  12. Daniel Go on May 3rd, 2011 1:03 am

    Facebook has too many ads on it now. I believe something better is yet to come. A site simpler yet very entertaining. I’ll wait for that.


  13. daniel on May 18th, 2011 8:40 pm

    Facebook is really having a hard time preventing all the hackers from destroying it. As it may seem, some hackers even manage to put a way on it already. Good luck to FB!

    New Jersey Podiatrist

  14. Bob Diamond on June 5th, 2011 6:38 pm

    I believe Facebook’s privacy settings have gone leaps and bounds from a year ago. You can make your Facebook account as open or as private as you want.

    Now if we talk about security (i.e. spam) issues, that’s a totally different thing, albeit related. It isn’t uncommon to get spam almost everyday but I don’t think Mark and his team are resting either. They shouldn’t. For our sakes.

    If you’re still wary of your privacy, just don’t upload any sensitive data. It’s really that simple.

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