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Facebook news: master plan to 'socialize everything we do online' revealed

Watching movies? Listening to music? Facebook wants you to do it all through Facebook. And in a Facebook news conference, it unveiled its plan for achieving this online hegemony Thursday.

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On Thursday, Zuckerberg showed how the new user pages will make it easier for these partners to create apps that create “frictionless experiences” for users accessing their content. For example, a user can watch "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" on Facebook. At the same time, the Ticker will let all the user's friends know – and allow them join, so all can watch the movie at the same time.

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In short, Facebook is seeking an advantage over its competition by providing users an all-in-one platform to stream and share content. For its partners, working with Facebook provides an impressive and new distribution network in the era of declining music sales and readership.

The new features can be perceived as reacting to recent threats from Google+, the software giant’s new social-network platform, and the surging popularity of Twitter. Both social networks target weaknesses of Facebook. Beyond Ticker's similarities to Twitter, the curated features of Timeline are similar to the organizational components of Google+.

Hyun Yeul Lee, a professor of communication at Boston University. called Google+ “a wakeup call for Facebook” in that its design “made a clear statement of being about identity” opposed to how Facebook makes users “vicariously live through” the personal updates of others.

Ms. Lee says success of the new features “will depend on usability and how much control the user has, or feel like they have,” which have been a continuing problem for Facebook users following recent privacy concerns.

A spokesperson for Facebook said no representative would be available to the media to answer questions regarding Thursday’s announcement.

Zuckerberg did not say how users will be charged for the new media content, if at all. However, the strategy follows the steps the company has been slowing making to tailor media content according to individual profile information, which has led many to worry the company is sacrificing user privacy to make money.

On Tuesday, eMarketer, a market-research company analyzing the digital market based in New York City, forecast that Facebook’s worldwide ad revenues will jump 104 percent by the end 2011 to $3.8 billion compared with the previous year.

“Facebook was born out of the user community’s expectation of operating your own private social network. But for a while now, Facebook has been moving in the direction of encouraging more public sharing of information and trying to encourage the user to think of it as a central hub of content and how they experience the web. They really want to socialize everything we do online,” says Professor Rotolo of Syracuse.

Zuckerberg said the new features are expected to become available to Facebook users in “the next few weeks.”

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