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10 ways Facebook will rule our lives

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | May 22, 2012
After all the attention, clamor, and expectations Facebook is now a publicly traded company worth $104 billion. With shares trading at a hundred times earnings, Facebook is under a lot of pressure to increase the profit that it brings in. In other words, now the fun begins.

Never mind organ donation; it's not too farfetched to see Facebook leveraging its massive network when it comes to matching up bone marrow or kidney donors with recipients.

Facebook has also forayed into health-related fields in the past -- in December, for example, the social network teamed up with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to offer online support for potentially suicidal users. In this initiative, family and friends of suicidal Facebook users can "report" public suicidal comments to Facebook, and the person who made the comment will be offered suicide prevention support.

In other words, Facebook is already pushing its way into people's most private parts of their lives -- their health -- and, it appears, succeeding.

4. Facebook's Push to Rule Advertising

It's a given that Facebook already rules our lives in terms of advertising -- even if Facebook ads may not be as effective as Google ads. This is because we constantly see Facebook ads, if not necessarily the paid ones.

Let me explain. Facebook last year introduced the concept of "frictionless sharing," or the ability to passively share your activity online with your Facebook friends. Though frictionless sharing hasn't proven to be a huge moneymaker for Facebook or for the third-party apps that use it, it is a constant fixture in our Facebook News Feeds. Facebook may have yet to fully leverage its advertising potential, but it's mastered the friends-based advertising that pervades News Feeds.

Facebook also constantly bombards its users with super-targeted ads that feature their friends. The idea behind this is that people will take recommendations from their friends, and so if their friends are featured in an ad about something, they're more likely to click. Again -- this hasn't been a proven moneymaker, but it does impact people. Though I may not be any more likely to drink Pepsi if I see an ad for Pepsi featuring one of my friends, I will associate that friend with Pepsi -- something I normally wouldn't have done unless said friend was such an avid consumer of Pepsi that it was a running joke.

A few months ago when Facebook tweaked its privacy policy, the service asserted it has a right to use all of the information it collect on users to sell ads on other sites to target people (more on privacy below). Meanwhile, Facebook has increased the number of ads people see and where they see them.

5. Web's Biggest Memories Vault

Facebook boasts that its users upload an average of 300 million photos per day, and its servers contain more than 100 billion photos. And that's not counting third-party applications that also hold photos, such as the recently-acquired Instagram.


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