Is Facebook Out For World Domination?
Updated: Mar 19
The following is an article “Is Facebook Out For World Domination?” by Marc Primo.
When Mark Zuckerberg and a few of his fellow Harvard College students launched Facebook in 2004, their intention at the time was to create a social media site intended solely for students attending specific schools.
According to Internet marketers TechWyse, it took less than a year for the social network to reach an unprecedented one million users. Fast-forward to 2017 and Facebook now has a whopping two billion users worldwide.
The rise and rise of Facebook
Given its meteoric growth rate in a relatively short period of time, one can’t help but wonder if the social media giant is out to rule the world. If you recall, Facebook started out as a fun and simple place online where friends threw sheep at each other and updated their current status, e.g. Marc is writing a blog article. At the time, it wasn’t much different from other social media sites of that era such as Friendster or Myspace.
Here’s where Zuckerberg’s vision came in. While other social media sites either got left behind or died a natural death, Facebook saw what its competition did not—an opportunity to push the envelope further by taking social media to a whole new level into the realm of new media, where it would soon prove to be a medium with as much reach and power as television.
Facebook’s rise to the top has been a swift one, composed of a series of deft and strategic acquisitions by Zuckerberg and his team, whose understanding of the market’s pulse and anticipation of its fluctuations have proven to be vital components to its tremendous success.
Zuckerberg made his first acquisition when he bought AboutFace for $200,000 in 2005. To date, Facebook has made at least 71 acquisitions, highlights of which include Friendster in 2010 for $40 million, the FB.com domain name in 2010 for $8.5 million, and its largest one to date—WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
When added together, the total cost of Facebook’s disclosed acquisitions exceeds a quarter of a trillion dollars—which is even more than the GDP of small nations like Fiji, Zimbabwe, and Maldives combined. When viewed from a business standpoint, things certainly don’t get much better than that.
But to quote a certain superhero, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and Facebook has, at times, failed to flex its muscle in an appropriate manner.
Social media and beyond
In developing nations like the Philippines, Facebook inadvertently found itself being used as a tool to sway public opinion during the country’s 2016 presidential elections. By leveraging on the free access to Facebook enjoyed by millions of Filipinos, unscrupulous campaigners from the eventual president-elect’s camp unjustly used the social network to spread fake news and misinformation. The end goal was to thwart any efforts made by anyone of repute who vocally opposed their candidate, while painting less-than-accurate pictures of what he would accomplish should he be voted into office.
In fairness to Facebook, links to bogus news reports were eventually removed and the company acknowledged that such practices were a violation of its policies. But by that time, the damage had been done and for the first time in that country’s history, social media in the form of Facebook proved to be instrumental in determining who would rule it for the next six years.