Yesterday’s Facebook press event sparked a ton of press over the past week, cranking up the blogosphere’s rumor rampage. Dozens of conversations and opinions about Facebook’s new Graph Search were popping up on blogs and newswires around the net almost instantly following the press conference. The days and even minutes leading up to the event were filled with rumors ranging from a Facebook phone to a new “dislike” button. At the end of the day many of these rumors were just that, rumors.
Let’s go over some the rumors going around the net and some possibilities why they won’t ever happen.
(Photo credit: Gizmodo)
Facebook Phone/Mobile OS
The biggest rumor surrounding the mysterious Facebook press event was the possibility of the infamous Facebook Phone. This rumor isn’t new to the tech world. It began to surface as Facebook struggled to monetize mobile sparking investor fear and resulting in a stock value plunge shortly after the company went public.
Facebook has repeatedly denied these rumors to their partners, shareholders, and users; and for good reason. Facebook relies on iOS and Android to host its native apps. The company learned the hard way that focusing only on their HTML5 web app was a mistake, and finally decided to embrace native mobile apps over the past several months. Both the iOS and Android platforms are crucial to Facebook’s mobile user base and mobile monetization strategy.
Facebook is a software company. Hardware is a completely new proving ground and a very expensive project to undertake. Facebook would need to start from scratch and create an OS to run on this phone they created, limiting the user’s options to experience the hundreds of thousands of applications they have access to on the iOS and Android platforms.
The closest thing we will ever see to a Facebook phone is digitally rendered blue Facebook phone made in Photoshop by a blogger looking for pageviews.
Another rumor that was brought up in some of the live blogs during yesterday’s press event was the possibility of a “Dislike” button. The closest thing to an actual “Dislike” button is an add-on created for Firefox by a third party developer. The problem with this is that the only users who can see the button are those who: a) use Firefox and b) have installed the add-on.
Another aspect to look at when discussing the “Dislike” button into the Social Graph is that developers would have to consider adding a rating system to content. YouTube allows users to thumb-down posts, Reddit has up & down votes, and countless blog/forums rank comments by rating. This change would have a dramatic impact on EdgeRank and the structure of content being displayed in the News Feed.
The biggest reason why Facebook will probably never launch a public dislike button lies at the company’s core mission of making the world more open and connected. We discover new people, connect with them, share information, and hope for them to react positively to it by “liking” it. Having a “dislike” option would promote negativity and an anti-social attitude.
Facebook has been in a constant struggle trying to monetize their platform for years, especially their mobile strategy. It has been a battle of trying to balance user experience with advertising. Even though Facebook directly advertises that “it’s free and always will be,” the rumors continue to pop up.
The chain posts that circulate around Facebook and blog communities continue to cover information that has no ground of truth outside of speculation. Creating a freemium model for Facebook would anger a lot of users and may even cause them to quit using the service. Facebook may have not have perfected monetization yet but, that doesn’t mean they have a flawed business model. Facebook’s number one priority is satisfying the user experience of its 1 billion users, something that will take time to find a perfect.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Resignation
Out of all the rumors about yesterday’s press conference this one took the cake for ridiculousness. It is almost too ridiculous to write about, but it did come up many times in conversation. Let’s look at why Mark Zuckerberg will not be resigning any time soon.
The plunge of the Facebook stock price after the IPO was an unfortunate problem for Mark as a leader. Facebook is still a relatively young company in terms of generating revenue and growing as a sustainable business, but the talent behind this young company will continue to reach great heights in innovation. Zuckerberg faces the difficult task of trying to keep both users and shareholders happy.
Facebook is still growing, despite rumors of lost users, and it will continue to grow its user base in the coming years. The road to monetizing mobile without sacrificing user experience is a slow process, but not an impossible one.
Zuckerberg will never resign due because he still has a lot of work to do. The amount of work he has accomplished in his young life is unfathomable to most, and it’s evident that he will continue to lead the company going forward.
Whether we “like” it or not, Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and neither is Mark Zuckerberg. So let’s bury these rumors once and for all and start making more educated guesses about what Facebook has in store for us next.