FACEBOOK AND IT’S TRANSFORMATIVE EFFECTS
Within this new media era, there has been a significant rise in new technologies that have assisted big social media companies in becoming extremely successful. The company that I have chosen to analyse is Facebook. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with over 7 billion people in the world, 2.4 billion people are using Facebook worldwide (Ortiz-Ospina, 2019). Facebook has changed the way the world works now through its ability to assist people to find new friends, connect with them, and reconnect with the old. Thus, in this analysis I will explore the transformative effects of Facebook by looking at how it has had a transformative impact on our economic, political, social, and cultural worlds.
Below is a graph that highlights the number of people on social media platforms from 2004- 2019
Source: statistica and TNW (2019)
A brief history of its development and how has it come to have such a transformative effect
The type of entity that Facebook is, is a social media platform. Being the largest social media platform in the world it has had an enormous and transformative effect on societies globally. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while at Harvard University. It originated from him profiling different students and staff members and just after one month more than had of the undergraduate students at Harvard had signed up and made a profile. (Phillips, 2007). From here it was passed around to other University’s in the United States and in 2005 it became a worldwide phenomenon. The social media platform has continued to transform and expand making it even more difficult for other companies to keep up with it.
There are many contributing factors to why and how Facebook came to have such transformative effects. According to Forbes, Facebooks timing was perfect. It started up at a time where the market was prepared, there was broadband availability and there had been a significant increase in internet participation by a wide diverse audience (Press, 2018). Additionally, as the social media platform started as being only Harvard users, they were able to expand gradually which meant that they were able to work on their software’s infrastructures and ensure that they were not faced with any technical issues that had stopped competitors in the past (Press, 2018). Through there control over their growth and by having experienced engineers help invent their tools, allowed Facebook to build its software that could manage millions, now billions, of users at the same time. On top of this Facebook added another feature to their software which was linking advertisements to targeted users which essentially made them the dominate in digital advertising (Press, 2018).
What is its business model, how does it make its money?
The owner of Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg. At the age of 23, he created the world’s most popular social media platform to date. The Facebook business model is an attention-based business model. Facebook is considered an attention-based business model because it of its use of advertising throughout the platform. Facebook makes a majority of its money through its Advertising business model. In 2018, over 98% of its revenues came from targeted advertising. This consists of putting up ads on Facebook, Instagram and messenger (Cuofano, 2018).
Does it work with partners? Does it have competitors?
Facebook works with a number of different businesses and start-ups to help build a greater variety of products (Facebook Careers, 2018). Some of Facebooks larger partnerships that they have had over the years is Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and many others (Papamiltiadis, 2018). Facebooks top competitors would be Google, Netflix, Amazon and Apple, which are the top tech companies in the world as shown in the graph below.
Below is graph that shows the top technology companies’ stocks.
Diagram that shows Facebooks Business model and the actors in relation to each other.
Facebooks transformative effects socially, economically, politically and culturally
Facebook has had transformative effects on us socially, politically, economically and culturally. Through its modern and constantly changing features it is able to keep up to date with the latest trends and topics. Economically, Facebook has enabled global activity to occur by assisting people to create new opportunities through connecting them with others from all over the world and businesses. Further, Facebook has enabled global economic activity through lowering barriers to marketing and allowing for creative innovation by users (Deloitte). Thus, we can see how Facebook has had a transformative effect on our economy.
Socially and Culturally, Facebook has allowed people to connect from all around the world and has broken down that barrier that existed once before between different cultures and geographies. Facebook has changed the way in which people communicate nowadays through its successful features. One example of a feature that has changed the way people communicate is the “friending” feature. This feature allows people to become friends with anyone who is also a user of Facebook and within seconds you can be instantly connected with someone from across the other side of the world. Additionally, with their extensive set of apps that are apart of Facebook, these being messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, have all been a huge success, allowing people to talk instantly, connect, engage and share different aspects in their lives (Cuofano, 2018). Facebook has definitely changed that way we socialise. There are both positives and negatives about the way Facebook has changed the way we socialise, and one positive would be that it has allowed people to have more efficient communication (University of Melbourne, 2018) However, the negative side of this is that it has also stopped people from having real-life interactions and relationships.
Facebook has also had transformative effects on the politics in our world. This is evident in the 2016 presidential election where Facebook was a part of a large distribution of misinformation about the presidential election which led to Donald Trump winning the election (Placido, 2020). Millions of Facebook profiles were harvested by the data analytics team, who worked alongside Donald Trump and his election team, to create a program that would manipulate and influence the choices people made during the election process (Cadwalladr, 2018). Facebook has been involved significantly in the election process this year and there has been a number of allegations against the misuse of information the platform had been spreading to people world-wide. Facebook had recently removed over 200 fake profiles that were connected to a pro-trump group as the Washington Post discovered that this Facebook group was paying teenagers to post messages about the election, specifically messages that praised Trump and messages about the Coronavirus that were all false (Paul, 2020).
Summary – how has this entity been part of an Internet transformation
Overall, it is evident through my analysis of the social media platform, Facebook, that it has had transformative effects on us socially, economically, politically and culturally. Facebook has been a part of an internet transformation as it has transformed over the years keeping up with all of the new technological advancements. Through this analysis we can see that Facebook in itself has transformed significantly from when it was originally founded back in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. Further, it is evident that through its expansive features and apps, that it has definitely had an impact on the way people communicate nowadays and form relationships. Thus, through my analysis of Facebook it is clear that has played a significant role in internet transformation and further, has had transformative effects on our society, economy, politics and culture.
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