When Facebook goes down or has performance hiccups, as it did Thursday afternoon, many of the 900 million-plus inhabitants of its virtual world feel the pain. So do those who are depending on the social network to ring their cash registers and drive their marketing efforts. It appears that Facebook isn’t keen on sharing the details with it constituents regarding what brought the site to its knees yesterday.
Facebook wants to be attentive to its relationship with its users and a responsible monarchy (co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg controls 56 percent of the voting shares). It is a pulsating megalopolis with its own economy and system of government. There are no taxes, in the form of cash payments to the company, in exchange for using the service. Instead Facebook users are willingly, or via accepting the user agreement, provide petabytes of data so that Facebook can generate billions of dollars selling advertising to marketers and digital goods its customers.
Essentially, Facebook is a service provider, and it has an implicit contract, or covenant, with its customers: We give you Facebook for free — and it’s not cheap to pay for all those talented, expensive employees, perks, and gargantuan data centers — and you let us monetize your personal data. If people don’t want to share their data with Facebook, no one is forcing them to join the Facebook family. It turns out it’s a good deal for all involved, and even better for Facebook if it can more precisely target ads to individual users.