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Has Facebook Just Changed the Internet?

Gordon Kelly by

(CC) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com and bub.blicio.us

The world's largest social network has just undergone two of the biggest changes in its history and they may alter the way we use the Internet forever…

On Thursday evening Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the company's F8 annual conference to announce new multimedia, app and gaming integration. Deals with the likes of Spotify, Netflix, Zynga, the Guardian and Washing Post are fundamentally changing Facebook from a content link to a supplier. As these services are linked through Facebook rather than hosted on the site (for example, you still need to install the Spotify client) the social network remains an indirect supplier, but much like a cinema is supplied by a film studio it remains a supplier nonetheless.

Vitally Facebook also becomes a content destination and, with Zuckerberg announcing half a billion people had recently visited the site in just 24 hours, potentially the world's most powerful promoter and distributor. Spotify immediately illustrated this, following the Facebook deal it announced free, unlimited music streaming for six months in the US (its newest and Facebook's biggest market). If 800m active users (50 per cent of which log into Facebook in any given day) are going to have the Spotify brand suddenly thrust upon them then Spotify is rightly determined to take advantage.

Facebook has not revealed who is paying who with these multimedia tie-ins, but all parties look set to benefit. More to the point, however, it is Facebook which holds the power. Its multimedia partners have significant rivals, Facebook does not and as these companies fight to agree deals with Facebook revenue cuts should mean whichever way it plays out, Facebook wins.

It gets better for Zuckerberg too. Facebook doesn't just offer its partners exposure to raw numbers, the usual goal of mainstream advertising. Further functionality introduced at F8 will see media content become social with the site's new real time ticker constantly updating to show what your friends are watching and listening to. This acts as additional promotion and also a source of consumption ideas. Hover over the content and there is the option to play it. A future update will allow content to be played in complete harmony with a friend – something that is sure to appeal to couples.

All of which places tremendous pressure on Facebook to maintain its key industry differentiator: the sheer volume of users. In the most cunning move of all F8 addressed this too…

Why would you leave Facebook? It must be the question which plagues Mark Zuckerberg more than any other and according to figures in June Facebook numbers in the UK briefly fell. The obvious answer would be Facebook is inane. Photo albums, event hosting and games may make it less inane than Twitter (Twitter thrives on this very aspect), but should you quit Facebook you are likely leaving little of true worth behind. But what if you abandoned your online life?

Go to comments


September 26, 2011, 9:34 am

Changed the internet? Not for me ... the problem with Facebook is if we aren't paying for it, we aren't the customer, we are the product being sold. And I'd rather keep my life to myself.


September 26, 2011, 2:42 pm

The problem with Facebook is that it's completely despicable. The whole concept is sick.
The garbage became a better garbage?
Same (maybe worse) for Google+ too.
I never needed them.


September 26, 2011, 6:51 pm

1. "Changed the internet? Not for me ... the problem with Facebook is if we aren't paying for it, we aren't the customer, we are the product being sold."

That's a great quote.

2. Affect or Effect?


September 27, 2011, 12:02 am

This comes from a position of wilful ignorance. Facebook is not completely despicable, what nonsense. It has a number of faults, but the service has worth and is hugely influential - arguably the most powerful site on the Internet in shaping mainstream user behaviour. This is the most significant change this it launched. I find comments such as this disappointing. I am curious whether you read the article before posting your hatred or whether it came after fully digesting what was said. The former would be sad, the latter more so.


September 27, 2011, 12:03 am

You are getting a free service. It has to pay for itself somehow. Of course we are being sold a product, that doesn't mean it doesn't have worth.

Clearly you are not the intended audience, but increasingly you are in a minority (not necessarily a bad thing).


September 27, 2011, 12:04 am

Definitely affect... on going implications.

It's an awful quote - see my reply below.

I think Facebook gets a lot of bad press simply for being Facebook. This is an incredibly bold me though and I think it will have far reaching consequences. The service is attempting to become less inane and I think this is an extremely clear way to do it. With its huge user base this will likely have repercussions for the whole Internet.


September 27, 2011, 3:19 pm

If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, would mankind come to a screeching halt? Perhaps not. And while I may be in a minority, I don't feel I am missing out on anything - I have a phone and email and I often leave the house to meet people face to face. that works fine for me. Do I care that my cousin is heading out to watch a film? Or a work colleague has lost her phone? While I don't hate Facebook nor their users, to me it is social spam and I can do without it. And the accompanying hyperbole.


September 27, 2011, 5:10 pm

Nice! The affects will be far reaching though. As the central social hub of the entire Web these days, that's inevitable.


September 27, 2011, 5:11 pm

Quite possibly. Either stop complaining or try and do something about it - is the only answer.


September 27, 2011, 5:14 pm

If many aspects of technology disappeared tomorrow life would go on. It doesn't mean that they don't add significant value to many people. I suspect before you had a (mobile) phone and email you didn't especially consider yourself to be "missing out" either.

Facebook will hit 1bn members soon. Discard those too young or old to have interest and those sadly not in a position to have Internet access and its penetration is stunning. It is by far and away the biggest online social platform ever seen. What it does the rest of the Web will follow. Until someone does it better...


September 27, 2011, 7:31 pm

Of course i didn't read the article. The main ingredient of internet is anonymity. If you lose this you have nothing. Facebook and similar craps have a huge influence and they are destroying internet. I don't need a world that every random 95 years old lady in Pakistan laughing knowing that i (real name, address, telephone numbers and bank accounts) am recently divorced, i like pink curtains at walls, i hate Bon Jovi, i was horrible last night in Call Of Duty and i am very ugly. I don't need it. I don't use internet to make friends or be glorified. I want my privacy intact to do whatever i want.
I want my freedom to do everything. No restrictions. Facebook destroys my life. I gain nothing from this. The main purpose of life is the huge profit. I want to take and take and take. Facebook gives me nothing.
I think things are plain and simple now. Thought it was from the beginning ...


September 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

It's an opinion, a blinkered one which fails to see more than one side of the story, but you are entitled to it.

I can't say more if you feel in a position to comment without actually reading the article.


September 28, 2011, 6:27 pm

You don't need to read anything in depth about Mr. Zuckerberg, because all about him are in the surface. 5 seconds of reading is enough to have the complete picture. You can read about him in every internet site you visit or magazine you browse or TV program you watch too, he has the bad habit to pop up constantly without your permission.
Is it a crime that i want to live my life as a human being and not be wasted between 1 billion Facebook zombies? Oh yeah, i know it's a big crime and i should be a Facebook member for an eternity to pay for my sins.


October 1, 2011, 1:05 am

Dumb. Purely because you assume my article is 100% supportive and without reservations.

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