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12 Facebook flops to commemorate its 12th birthday

Kristin Burnham | Feb. 5, 2016
You can’t get it right all the time, and no one knows that better than the king of social media. Here are 12 examples of famous Facebook fails.

Since then, Facebook spun out Messenger into its own, highly successful app and Gmail is as popular as ever. Facebook email addresses, though – not so much. 

5. Facebook shares home addresses 

In 2011, Facebook gave third-party apps and websites access to users’ home addresses and mobile phone numbers that they shared on the social network. The move was intended to help users complete online forms using their Facebook information, but it was abused: Later that year, Facebook discovered some developers had sold that user information not marketing firms

6. Facebook Deals 

Social deals – think Groupon and LivingSocial, for example – were big in 2011. To capitalize on that trend, Facebook launched its own product to compete. Called Facebook Deals, these offers debuted in five cities and let users make purchases on goods and experiences at steep discounts. 

Just four months in, Facebook announced it would end the test. “We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses,” it said. “We’ve learned a lot from our test and we’ll continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses.” 

7. Facebook’s IPO lawsuit 

In 2012, Facebook’s IPO was investigated and compared to a “pump and dump” scheme – a form of stock fraud that involves artificially inflating the price through false and misleading positive statements. 

A class-action lawsuit alleged that the Facebook financial officer communicated adjustments to earning statements to the underwriters, who used the information to cash out on their positions while leaving the public with overpriced shares. 

By the end of the month, Facebook’s stock lost more than a quarter of its starting value, prompting many to call its IPO a failure. 

8. HTML5 

In an interview in 2012 – the first after the company’s IPO – Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the company focused too much on HTML5, referring to the original HTML5-powered Facebook apps, which were riddled with latency and other issues. Instead, the focus should have been on native apps, he said. 

“The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 rather than native,” he said. “We burned two years.” 

9. Facebook Home 

The social network unveiled Facebook Home, a user interface designed to replace the home screen on Android phones, in 2013. Facebook Home let users view and post content on Facebook, view notifications from Facebook and other apps, and allowed users to chat via the social network or SMS from any app. 

Feedback on Facebook Home was mixed, with users complaining that its focus on its own social network was to the detriment of other apps not focused on social networking, while others cited privacy concerns due to Facebook’s unprecedented access to user data on mobile devices. 


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