Software Giant Will Drop $240 Million for Hotly Contested Stake in
Social Net - October 24 07
NEW YORK - In what appears to be a coup for Microsoft, the
Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is taking a $240 million equity
stake in Facebook in a round of financing that values the company at $15
As part of the deal's terms, Microsoft will be the exclusive third-party
ad-platform provider for Facebook. It will also begin to represent some
Facebook inventory internationally. Microsoft already has a deal to sell
third-party IAB-standard display advertising on Facebook in the
Earlier this year the terms of this deal were extended to 2011.
What do with the cash?
With the injection of cash and the mammoth valuation, it begs the
question just what will Facebook do with all that money? For one thing,
it'll invest more resources into wooing advertisers.
"We see continued improvement and great progress with the overall
monetization of the Facebook inventory," said Owen Van Natta, chief
revenue officer at Facebook. He also said the funding would allow the
social network to continue its hiring spree, expand internationally and
"focus on innovation and how we create an even richer experience
Microsoft and Google were both said to be in the running to finance this
latest round of funding. At stake is an entry into arguably the web's
hottest property and a potential advertising goldmine should Facebook be
able to mine the vast amounts of data its users upload onto their
profiles and use that information to target advertising. The company is
on the brink of making a major push toward doing that, hosting an advertiser-focused
event on Nov. 6 in New York.
Facebook has also recently trademarked the term "SocialAds."
According to two ad-industry executives familiar with the company, it is
also interested in targeting its users with advertising off Facebook via
a network play, a move Facebook has not confirmed.
Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms and Services Division at
Microsoft, builds on the value proposition to advertisers globally
"as Facebook innovates around new ad types unique to the social
Interpublic's smart move
Incidentally, one of the most prescient investments into Facebook now
appears to be Interpublic Group of Cos.' summer 2006 commitment to spend
$10 million in media dollars on the site in exchange for a 0.5% stake.
That investments value today? About $75 million, if all the valuations
On a conference call announcing the Microsoft deal there was some
back-and-forth on whether it includes search technology and monetization.
"The deal does not include web search," Mr. Van Natta said
during the conversation.
Addressing the massive $15 billion valuation of Facebook, a company that
will bring in about $150 million in revenue this year, Mr. Johnson said
it "was not outside the realm of possibility" for Facebook to
grow to 200 million or 300 million users. "You can combine that
with monetization opportunities and combine that with average revenue
per user ... and very quickly get to these levels of valuations,"
"It's pretty obvious they've got big plans in advertising,"
said Debbie Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer. "They may
have intentions to become the Google of social-network
Worldwide social-network ad spending is predicted to be $1.235 billion
in 2007 and reach $3.63 billion by 2010. In the U.S. those numbers are
$900 million for this year and $2.515 billion for 2010.
A DEAL: The
investment ends three months of jockeying between three Internet giants
for the right to invest in and forge close ties with the social
NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, SAN FRANCISCO
Friday, Oct 26, 2007, Page 10
has won a high-profile technology industry battle with Google and Yahoo
to invest in the social networking upstart Facebook.
two companies said on Wednesday that Microsoft would pay US$240 million
for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook.
investment values Facebook, which is three and a half years old and will
bring in about US$150 million in revenue this year, at US$15 billion.
deal throws the value of the holdings of Facebook investors into the
stratosphere. Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year-old Facebook co-founder who
followed the path of Bill Gates by dropping out of Harvard to build a
company, owns a 20 percent share that may now be worth as much as US$3
Partners, the venture capital firm that invested US$12.7 million in May
2005, now holds stock that could be worth U$1.65 billion.
investment also ends two months of jockeying among three major Internet
players for the right to invest in and forge close ties with Facebook.
and Facebook executives said they met in several cities over the last
month and moved toward consummating the deal by sending cell phone text
messages to each other while Steven Ballmer, chief executive of
Microsoft, was speaking last week at the Web 2.0 technology conference
in San Francisco.
were a lot of twists and turns, as there always are in these
things," said Owen Van Natta, chief revenue officer of Facebook.
final negotiations were completed on Wednesday morning in Facebook's
offices in Palo Alto.
part of the deal, Microsoft will sell the graphical banner ads appearing
on Facebook outside of the US, splitting the revenue. Microsoft has an
existing deal with Facebook to run banner ads on the site in the US
astronomical value placed on Facebook is evidence that Microsoft
executives believed they could not afford to lose out on the deal.
Google appears to be building a dominant position in the race to serve
it might lose control over the next generation of computer users,
Microsoft has been trying to keep up with and in some cases block
Google's moves, even if that effort is costly.
are now stepping outside what is typically a business decision,"
said Rob Enderle, the founder of the strategy concern Enderle Group.
"This was almost personal. I wouldn't want to be the executive
that's on the losing side at either firm."
a conference call with journalists and analysts, Kevin Johnson,
president of the platforms and services division at Microsoft, described
the deal as a "major advertising syndication win for
equity stake that we are taking in Facebook is a strong statement of
confidence in this partnership," Johnson said.
a statement of confidence in the fact that our advertising platform is
going to get stronger and will help monetize Facebook," he said.
the same call, Van Natta responded to a question about reports that both
Yahoo and Google were bidding to invest in Facebook by saying, "We
were very fortunate to have a lot of folks interested in a partnership
with us around advertising."
Natta said the investment would allow the company to more than double
its work force to 700 employees by the end of next year.
also said it would help Facebook expand internationally and buy the
technology to help keep up with its rapid growth.
says it has 50 million active members and is adding 200,000 new ones
the site owned by the News Corp that is Facebook's main rival in social
networking, has more than twice as many members but is growing more
Target, Facebook Tops for College Students - October
Survey Shows Social-Networking Split Between Sexes
Pa. - They love Apple, shop at Target, use Facebook online and are split
on whether they adore or despise the Geico cavemen. They wish they were
better at sports, watch TV
more often than surf the web and view a lot of YouTube videos, but
generally don't create them.
iPhone was one of college students most anticipated new products
Meet the next generation of leaders and consumers: today's college
students. Anderson Analytics' third annual fall brand survey of college
students queried their likes and dislikes as well as brand affinities
and media consumption of the 18-to-24 set and came up with plenty of
lessons for marketers.
Women and social networks
While Facebook ranked as the most popular website among this
demographic, social networking is twice as popular with young women as
young men. MySpace, which was No. 1 last year,
ranked No. 2 with females but dropped out of the top five for young men.
That means marketers using social-networking sites to target young
people are reaching far more females than males.
"The gender differences here are significant," said Jesse
Chen, lead consultant for Anderson's GenX2Z youth-research group.
"It's the opposite of what we see when looking at use of
social-networking sites for business purposes among adults, where men
are far more likely to use sites such as LinkedIn. Among this younger
demographic, it's the women who are the über networkers." Which
also raises an interesting question: As these women age, will they
change the networking dynamic between women and men in the future? And
will new LinkedIn-type competitors rush to fill that need?
Tom Anderson, managing partner Anderson Analytics, offered anecdotal
evidence of his own LinkedIn list of 800 with many more men than women.
"We've seen older adult women tend to be more careful with
networking and sharing information. Obviously, that's not the case for
younger women," he said. "As these women age, I think the
disparity will go away. ... The question is what kind of choices will be
available for them?"
While the college group is one of the smallest demographically in the
U.S. -- about 18 million projected by the U.S. Census this year vs.
around 80 million baby boomers -- it is one of the most influential. And
the one paid most homage by marketers.
"They have huge impact on what their parents buy, and then they
have their own money, more than any other generation before them, and of
course they are the consumers of tomorrow," Mr. Anderson said,
adding that marketers also target the 18-to-24 crowd to reach society at
large. "In America, everyone wants to be younger, so we look to
younger people. We think they're happier than us and we want to be like
them, resulting in a younger-targeted marketing message," he said.
Not surprisingly, the brand that ruled with this group was Apple. It
ranked as the No. 2 overall best brand by 17% of the students; ranked
Nos. 1 and 2 as most anticipated products with iPhone and new iPod
versions; ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in product recommendations with iPod
followed by Apple products in general; and ranked No. 6 in most popular
Students most popular products
Love and hate for lizard
As for commercials, the ads these kids love are also some of the ones
they hate. Geico ranked No. 1 on both the best and worst list of
commercials -- 25% ranked it good, 26% ranked it bad. Axe Bodyspray,
iPhone, Burger King and Apple also made both lists.
While their preference for technology was apparent, particularly among
men who ranked Digg and Engadget among their top 10 websites, they
didn't make the leap to consumer-generated media. Only 8% said they
uploaded videos to YouTube. And in fact, 64% don't make videos at all
while another 14% who do make them said they don't share them with
anyone. While 75% surf social-networking sites and 71% read news online,
only 14% said they wrote their own blogs.
Other than online habits, there were plenty of other disparities between
the sexes. More than 71% of the young women recently read a book for
pleasure vs. 55% of men, while more than 55% of men played video games
alone vs. just 21% of women. But even togetherness didn't up the
video-game-play time: Only 17% of women said they had recently played a
game with others, while more than 40% of the men had.
Facebook is a social networking website which was launched on February 4, 2004.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard graduate and former Ardsley High School student, in 2004. Initially the membership was restricted to students of Harvard College. It was subsequently expanded to other Boston area schools (Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Tufts), Rochester, Stanford, NYU, Northwestern, and all Ivy League schools within two months. Many individual universities were added in rapid succession over the next year. Eventually, people with a university (e.g .edu, .ac.uk, etc.) email address from institutions across the globe were eligible to join. Networks were then initiated for high schools and some large companies. Since September 11, 2006, it has been made available to any email
address user who inputs a certain age range. Users can select to join one or more participating networks, such as a high school, place of employment, or geographic region.
As of July 2007, the website had the largest number of registered users among college-focused sites with over 34 million active members worldwide (also from non-collegiate
networks). From September 2006 to September 2007 it increased its ranking from 60 to 7th most visited web site, and was the number one site for photos in the United States, ahead of public sites such as Flickr, with over 8.5 million photos uploaded
The name of the site refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of the campus community that U.S. colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus.
The site is free to users and generates revenue from advertising including banner ads and sponsored groups (in April 2006, revenue was rumored to be over $1.5 million per week). Users create profiles that often contain photos and lists of personal interests, exchange private or public messages, and join groups of friends. The viewing of detailed profile data is restricted to users from the same network or confirmed friends. According to TechCrunch, "about 85% of students in [previously] supported colleges have a profile [on the site]. [Of those who are signed up,] 60% log in daily. About 85% log in at least once a week, and 93% log in at least once a month." According to Chris Hughes, spokesman for Facebook, "People spend an average of 19 minutes a day on Facebook." In a 2006 study conducted by Student Monitor, a New Jersey-based limited liability company specialising in research concerning the college student market, Facebook was named as the second most "in" thing among undergraduates, tied with beer and sex and losing only to the iPod.
Origins and expansion
The former banner of FacebookWikinews has news related to this article:
Facebook's fundingMark Zuckerberg founded "The Facebook" in February 2004, while attending Harvard University, with support from Andrew McCollum and Eduardo Saverin. By the end of the month, more than half of the undergraduate population at Harvard were registered on the service. At that time, Zuckerberg was joined by Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes for site promotion and Facebook expanded to MIT, Boston University, and Boston College. This expansion continued in April of 2004 when it expanded to the rest of Ivy League and a few other schools. The following month, Zuckerberg, McCollum and Moskovitz moved to Palo Alto, California, to continue work on Facebook's development with additional help from Adam D'Angelo and Sean Parker. In September, Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, the owners of the social networking website ConnectU, filed a lawsuit against Facebook, alleging that Zuckerberg had illegally used source code intended for a website they asked him to build for
them. Also at that time, Facebook received approximately $500,000 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel in an angel round. By December, Facebook's user base had exceeded one million.
In May 2005, Facebook raised $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel
Partners. On August 23, 2005, Facebook bought the domain name facebook.com from the Aboutface Corporation for $200,000 and dropped "the" from its name. At that time the site was overhauled, a change intended to make profile pages more user-friendly, according to Zuckerberg. Also that month McCollum went back to Harvard although he continued to serve as a consultant and returned to work on staff during the summers. As before, Hughes remained in Cambridge while he performed his duties as company spokesperson. Then, on September 2, 2005, Zuckerberg launched the high school iteration of Facebook, calling it the next logical thing to do. While initially described as separate "communities" to which users needed to be invited to participate, within only fifteen days most high school networks did not require a password to join (although registration with Facebook was still necessary.) By October, Facebook's expansion had trickled down to most small universities and junior colleges in the United States, Canada, and the UK, in addition to having expanded to twenty-one universities in the United Kingdom, the entire Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) system in Mexico, the entire University of Puerto Rico network in Puerto Rico, and the whole University of the Virgin Islands network in the U.S. Virgin Islands. On December 11, 2005, universities in Australia and New Zealand were added to the Facebook network, bringing its size to more than 2,000 colleges and more than 25,000 high schools throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and
On February 27, 2006, Facebook began allowing college students to add high school students as friends due to requests from
users. About a month later, on March 28, 2006, BusinessWeek reported that a potential acquisition of the site was under negotiation. Facebook reportedly declined an offer of $750 million, and it was rumored that the asking price was as high as $2 billion. In April, Peter Thiel, Greylock Partners, and Meritech Capital Partners invested an additional $25 million in the
site. In May, Facebook's network extended into India, at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The following month Facebook threatened to seek costs of up to $100,000 from Quizsender.com for copyright infringement for allegedly copying the "look and feel" of Facebook. On July 25, new services were offered in the site that would potentially produce additional revenue. A promotion was arranged between Facebook and iTunes, in which members of the Apple Students group would receive a free 25 song sampler each week until September 30 in various music genres. The promotion's purpose was to make students more familiar with and enthusiastic about each service as fall classes
approached. In the early half of August, Facebook added universities in Germany and high schools in Israel, (Haifa, Jerusalem, and Qiryat Gat) to its network. On the 22nd of that month, Facebook introduced Facebook Notes, a blogging feature with tagging, embedded images, and other features, also allowing the importation of blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging services. This newly added feature also included the common blog feature of allowing readers to comment on users' entries. On September 11, 2006, Facebook became open to all users of the Internet, prompting protest from its existing user
base. Two weeks later, Facebook opened registration to anyone with a valid e-mail address (see
On May 10, 2007 Facebook announced a plan to add free classified advertisements to its website, making it a competitor with established online companies such as Craigslist. This feature, known as Facebook Marketplace, went live on May 14, 2007. On May 24, 2007, Facebook launched an API that allows the development of applications to be used on the site, known as Facebook
Platform. In June, the partnership begun the previous year between iTunes and Facebook continued, with the download service again offering free music samplers through the Apple Students group. In July, Facebook announced its first acquisition, purchasing Parakey, Inc. from Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. In August, the company was featured in a Newsweek cover story by Steven Levy in the magazine's annual college
Facebook hired YouTube's former CFO Gideon Yu on July 24, 2007. Gideon Yu succeeded Michael Sheridan.
On September 25, 2007, it was rumored that Microsoft may buy a stake in Facebook. An outright sale of Facebook is said to be unlikely as founder Mark Zuckerberg would like to keep it independent.
The Wall is a space on each user's profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see. One user's wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see their full profile, and different users' wall posts show up in an individual's News Feed. Many users use their friend's walls for leaving short, temporal notes. More private discourse is saved for Messages, which are sent to a person's Inbox, and are visible only to the sender and recipient(s) of the Message, much like email.
In July 2007, Facebook allowed users to post attachments to the wall, whereas previously the wall was limited to textual content only.
Some of Facebook's gifts, as displayed in the website's gift shop.In February 2007, Facebook added a new gift feature to the website. Friends could send "gifts" -- small icons of novelty items designed by former Apple designer Susan Kare -- to each other by selecting one from Facebook's virtual gift shop and adding a message. Gifts given to a user appear on the recipient's wall with the giver's message, unless the giver decided to give the gift privately, in which case the giver's name and message is not displayed to other users. Additionally, all gifts (including private gifts) received by a user are displayed in the recipient's "gift box" (right above their wall on their profile), marked with either the first name of the user (for public gifts) or the word "Private." An "Anonymous" option is also available, by which anyone with profile access can see the gift, but only the recipient will see the message. No one will see the giver's name, and the gift will go in the recipient's gift box but not the wall.
Facebook users are given one free gift to give upon account signup. Each additional gift given by a user costs USD $1.00. The initial selection of gifts was Valentine's Day themed, and 50% of the proceeds received through February 2007 were donated to the charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure. After the month of February, the proceeds were no longer donated. Soon after, Facebook began making one new gift available each day, most of which had a limited supply or were available for a limited time. The daily new gift is advertised on every user's home page.
With the advent of Applications came a way to subvert the required US$1.00 payment; however, the gifts in the "Free Gifts" application, created by Zachary
Allia, are not the same as the official gifts, as they are displayed in a different manner.
In May 2007, Facebook introduced the Facebook Marketplace allowing users to post free classified ads within the following categories: For Sale, Housing, Jobs, and Other. Ads can be posted in either available or wanted
format. The market place is available for all Facebook users and is currently free.
Facebook includes a "poke" feature which allows one user to send a "poke" to another. According to Facebook's FAQ section on the Poke Feature, "a poke is a way to interact with your friends on Facebook. When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings." In principle this is intended to serve as a "nudge" to attract the attention of the other user. However while many Facebook users, as intended, use the feature to attract attention or say
hello, some users construe it as a sexual advance. This interpretation of the feature inspired a popular Facebook group titled "Enough with the Poking, Lets Just Have Sex," which, as of September 2007, has more than 250,000 members.
Friends often engage in what is known as a "poke war," where the poke is exchanged back and forth continuously between two users by using the "poke back" feature.
There are several new applications such as "X Me" and "SuperPoke!", that allow users to put any action in place of the word "poke."
The "status" feature allows users to inform their friends and the Facebook community of their current whereabouts and actions. Facebook prompts the status update with "(User name) is..." and Facebook users fill in the rest. Status updates are noted in the "Recently updated" section of a users' friend list.
Facebook events are a way for members to let friends know about upcoming events in their community and to organize social gatherings.
On May 24, 2007, Facebook launched the Facebook Platform, which provides a framework for developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features.
Among the most popular applications are Top Friends, which allows users to select and display their favorite friends; Graffiti, which gives users a visual version of Facebook's wall; and iLike, a social music discovery service that features concert information and a music trivia game, similar to the one featured on the iPod. Third-party websites such as Adonomics, which provides application metrics, and blogs such as AppRate, Inside Facebook and Face Reviews have sprung up in response to the clamor for Facebook applications. Even games such as chess and Scrabble are available.
On July 4, 2007, Altura Ventures announced the "Altura 1 Facebook Investment Fund," becoming the world's first Facebook-only venture capital
firm. On July 10, 2007 Bay Partners announced appfactory, a venture capital seed program dedicated solely to Facebook applications.
On August 29, 2007, Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, in order to give more attention to the more engaging applications, following criticism that ranking applications only by the number of users was giving an advantage to the highly viral, yet useless
Tech blog Valleywag has criticized Facebook Applications, labeling them a "cornucopia of uslessness."
As of September 25th 2007, there are more than 4,500 Applications.
Facebook Markup Language
Facebook Markup Language is a subset of HTML. It allows Facebook application writers to customise the "look and feel" of their applications, to a limited extent.
During the time that Facebook released its platform, it also released an application
of its own for sharing videos on Facebook. Users can add their videos with the service by uploading video, adding video through Facebook Mobile, and using a webcam recording feature. Additionally, users can "tag" their friends in videos they add much like the way users can tag their friends in photos. This feature was expected to increase competition with MySpace. However, the Facebook Video Application does not allow sharing videos outside of Facebook. Users will not be able to export or download videos from Facebook. Despite this, a Greasemonkey Userscript was posted on Userscripts.org which allows both the downloading of Facebook Videos and the embedding of Videos on sites outside of Facebook's website.
Model of the domain
Model of the Facebook domainThe diagram on the right, expressed using the UML standard notation for class diagrams, represents a subset of the information managed by Facebook. It gives a concise picture of the various entities, relations and fields stored in the database.
For instance, the diagram shows what fields are associated with the notion of Job, School, CreditCard, ScreenName, and so on (see the corresponding yellow boxes representing classes).
Note that this is a conceptual class diagram: it describes the concepts rather than the implementation and the detail of the database. For more information about technical models, see FQL - Facebook Query Language (SQL-like query language).
For running its operations Facebook use the software bundle known as LAMP. Steven Grimm, an infrastructure engineer at Facebook, writes in his blog:
Almost all our servers are running open-source software. Our Web servers use Linux and Apache and PHP. Our database servers run MySQL. We use memcached to help keep the site snappy. Some of our behind-the-scenes software is written in Python and Perl and Java, and we use gcc and Boost for the parts that aren't. Our developers use Subversion and git to keep track of their work. The list goes on—like many Web sites, we use it from top to
In 2006, with the sale of social networking site MySpace to NewsCorp, rumors surfaced about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company. Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, has said that he does not want to sell the company and denies rumors to the
contrary. He has already rejected outright offers in the range of $975 million, and it is not clear who might be willing to pay a higher premium for the site. Steve Rosenbush, a technology business analyst, suspects
In September 2006, serious talks between Facebook and Yahoo! took place for the acquisition of the social network, with prices reaching as high as $1
billion. In October, after Google purchased video-sharing site YouTube, rumors circulated that Google had offered $2.3 billion to outbid
Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, indicated that Facebook's internal valuation is around $8 billion based on their projected revenues of $1 billion by 2015, comparable to that of Viacom's MTV brand and based on shared target demographic audience.
In September 2007, Microsoft approached Facebook, proposing an investment in return for a 5% stake in the company. Microsoft would pay an estimated 300 to 500 million dollars for the share. Other companies such as Google have also expressed interest in getting a stake in Facebook.
Use in investigations
Alcohol policy violations
There have been incidents where colleges and universities use Facebook to investigate underage drinking and violations of dry campus policies or discover them while investigating other incidents. For example, several Residence Community Advisors at Northern Kentucky University lost their jobs when pictures were discovered of them having casual drinks in a residence hall one night towards the end of
semester. Many high schools have also begun to use Facebook to crack down on underage drinking and other illegal activities.
In response to the monitoring, some students have begun to submit "red herring" party
listings. In one case at The George Washington University, shown at CakeParty.org, students advertised their party and were raided by campus police. The police found only cake, no alcohol, and later claimed the break up had been triggered by a noise
There have been several incidents where candidates in student government elections used Facebook for campaigning in a way that was not permitted by their campaign
At the University of Mississippi, a group of students were brought before the University's Judicial Board in April 2005 and forced to remove a Facebook group that professed their love for a professor in a sexually suggestive
One Miami University student was arrested after he set a composite sketch of a rape suspect as his profile
Others have been punished for rushing the football field at Penn State (Many "I rushed the field" groups were created after the Nittany Lion football team defeated Ohio State in October 2005, and State College Police and Pennsylvania State Police used the groups to arrest those who they believed rushed the field in violation of school
A Duquesne University student was punished for hate speech against
Four Syracuse University students were reprimanded for harassing an instructor in a Facebook group and were threatened with expulsion, though the final result was academic probation.  On the other hand, University of Louisville students who had created a Facebook group to complain about a professor's teaching shortcomings helped lead to the dismissal of their targeted instructor in February 2006, and the students were not
In February 2007, following the hit-and-run death of freshman Carlee Wines, University of Connecticut campus police used Facebook to link the suspected driver, Anthony P. Alvino of Lindenhurst, N.Y., to the
university. By following leads via Facebook, police learned of the connection between Alvino and his girlfriend, Michele A. Hall, a UConn
student. Alvino was charged for the hit-and-run, while Hall was charged with helping cover it up and hindering prosecution.
In April 2007, just days after the Virginia Tech shooting, a student at the SUNY College at Cobleskill was remanded into psychiatric care and suspended from college after posting a photo of himself on his profile with a vaguely threatening message underneath. This story became even more controversial as it grew across the
It has been reported that staff at the University of Oxford have been looking at students' Facebook pages in investigating poor behaviour. Staff have been searching through photos in an effort to root out poor conduct from students celebrating their exam results and graduation. The Oxford University Student Union has urged students to restrict access to 'friends only' in an effort to protect privacy.
In July 2007 The University of Kent issued a strongly worded statement protesting that a group of students had created a hate page about a library employee, which the site quickly withdrew.
In November 2006, two students were expelled from the University of Texas fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha based on racist images posted on Facebook.
Other uses of profile information
Because of users' concern over who was viewing their photo albums (pictured), Facebook staff added privacy controls such as Limited Profile settings to restrict their display.Some employers look at Facebook profiles of prospective employees or interns. Information posted on Facebook is potentially accessible to employers with faculty or alumni
Information posted on the site is sometimes distributed publicly. Students who are related to politicians or other public figures have had screenshots of their profiles or photo albums taken and shared in an attempt to embarrass their
relatives. After profile information was posted on Gawker and Wonkette, two popular weblogs, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer, Chris Kelly, sent the sites' publishers cease and desist
notices. Also, a group calling itself Performing Politics, Inc. publicly displayed the profiles of students at Yale who had made comments about homosexuality in an effort to show evidence of homophobia at the
In Wrentham, Massachusetts State Senator Scott P. Brown (R) was invited to speak at King Philip Regional High School to talk about his position against gay marriage. During the speech, Brown read verbatim several posts attacking him from a Facebook group dedicated to a pro-gay rights history teacher. Often he included both verbatim profanity and the names of the students who wrote
Militant members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in Britain have threatened students at Oxford who support the university's proposed South Parks laboratory saying they are legitimate targets for attack. A counter-activist group called Pro-Test has warned students not to support the lab's construction on Facebook as they believe ALF is monitoring the
After the death of a teenager under suspicious circumstances in July 2007, the Ottawa Citizen used comments from a facebook memorial group in a slanderous manner to create a dramatic article on the front page city section showing the irresponsibility of the teen and his peers. The Citizen claimed that the teens thought they were supermen and were invincible and that they had no respect for the law. This sparked outrage amongst the users who wrote many letters to the editor of the Citizen, and the Citizen released an unofficial apology on the wall of the
Facebook was used by reporters in the Hendrick Hudson Senior Prank Bomb case to contact the involved students. The reporters had a facebook profile and left messages encouraging them to talk to the press about the legal case at hand.
Schools block access
The University of New Mexico in October 2005 blocked access to Facebook from UNM campus computers and networks, citing unsolicited e-mails and a similar site called UNM Facebook. After a UNM user signed into Facebook from off campus, a message from Facebook said, "We are working with the UNM administration to lift the block and have explained that it was instituted based on erroneous information, but they have not yet committed to restore your access." UNM, in a message to students who tried to access the site from the UNM network, wrote, "This site is temporarily unavailable while UNM and the site owners work out procedural issues. The site is in violation of UNM's Acceptable Computer Use Policy for abusing computing resources (e.g., spamming, trademark infringement, etc.). The site forces use of UNM credentials (e.g., NetID or email address) for non-UNM business." However, after Facebook created an encrypted login and displayed a precautionary message not to use university passwords for access, UNM unblocked access the following spring
The Columbus Dispatch reported on June 22, 2006, that Kent State University's athletic director had planned to ban the use of Facebook by athletes and gave them until August 1 to delete their
accounts. On July 5, 2006, the Daily Kent Stater reported that the director reversed the decision after reviewing the privacy settings of Facebook.
Michigan public schools have blocked most of all schools from Facebook and other social networking sites.
Organizations blocking Facebook
Ontario government employees, MPPs, and cabinet ministers were blocked from access to Facebook on government computers in May
2007. When the employees tried to access Facebook, a warning message "The Internet website that you have requested has been deemed unacceptable for use for government business purposes". This warning also appears when employees try to access YouTube, gambling or pornographic
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training has also blocked all users (students and staff) from accessing Facebook.
A notable ancillary effect of social networking websites, particularly Facebook, is the ability for participants to mourn publicly for a deceased individual. On Facebook, students often leave messages of sadness, grief, or hope on the individual's page, transforming it into a sort of public book of condolences. This particular phenomenon has been documented at a number of
schools. Previously, Facebook had stated that its official policy on the matter was to remove the profile of the deceased one month after he or she has
died, preventing the profile from being used for communal mourning, citing privacy concerns. Due to user response, Facebook amended its policy. Its new policy is to place deceased members' profiles in a "memorialization
Additional usage of Facebook as a tool of remembrance is expressed in group memberships on the site. Now that groups are community-wide and available among all networks, many users create Facebook groups to remember not only a deceased friend or individual, but also as a source of support in response to a great tragedy such as 9/11 or the Virginia Tech massacre in April, 2007.
Customization and security
Facebook is often compared to MySpace but one significant difference between the two sites is the level of customization. MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles using HTML and CSS while Facebook only allows plain text. However, a number of users have tweaked their profiles by using "hacks." On February 24, 2006, a pair of users exploited a cross-site scripting (XSS) hole on the profile page and created a fast-spreading worm, loading a custom CSS file on infected profiles that made them look like MySpace
worm. This hole took Facebook two and a half weeks to fix.
Further information: Criticism of Facebook
Lawsuit from Connectu.com
This article documents an ongoing lawsuit.
Information may change rapidly as the suit progresses.
Founder of Facebook.com, Mark Zuckerberg, has been accused of illegally using both the concept and source code from competing site Connectu.com. In November 2003,ConnectU engaged Mark Zuckerberg, then a sophomore at Harvard, to complete the computer programming for their website. Upon joining the ConnectU team, Zuckerberg was given full access to the website source code. Allegedly, Zuckerberg intentionally hampered the development of ConnectU while using code originally intended for ConnectU in the development of Facebook.
Since its original filing in Massachusetts the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice due to technicality on March 28, 2007, but was never ruled on. It was refiled soon thereafter in U.S. District Court in Boston, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 25, 2007. Facebook asked the district court to dismiss the case. The attorneys representing Facebook referred to the allegations as "broad brush", "false" and that they are unsubstantiated with
Aaron Greenspan & house SYSTEM
Aaron Greenspan, a Harvard classmate of Mark Zuckerberg claims that he created the original college social networking system, before either Facebook or ConnectU were
There have been some concerns expressed regarding the use of Facebook as a means of surveillance and data mining. Theories have been written about the possible misuse of
Facebook and privacy proponents have criticised the site's current privacy
group." However, the possibility of data mining by private individuals unaffiliated with Facebook remains open, as evidenced by the fact that two MIT students were able to download, using an automated script, over 70,000 Facebook profiles from four schools (MIT, NYU, the University of Oklahoma, and Harvard) as part of a research project on Facebook privacy published on December 14,
Another clause that some users are critical of reserves the right to sell users' data to private companies, stating "We may share your information with third parties, including responsible companies with which we have a relationship." This concern has also been addressed by spokesman Chris Hughes who said "Simply put, we have never provided our users' information to third party companies, nor do we intend
to." It is unclear if Facebook plans to remove that clause as well.
Recently serious privacy concerns have been raised over the security of 3rd party applications that users may install on Facebook (for example vampires, super poke
etc). Third party applications have access to almost all user information and "Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information."
Facebook staff have the authority to view profiles in the event that the person is suspected of violating the site's terms of
In August 2007 the code used to dynamically generate Facebook's home and search page as visitors browse the site was accidentally made public, according to leading internet news
sites. A configuration problem on a Facebook server caused the PHP code to be displayed instead of the web page the code should have created, raising concerns about how secure private data on the site was. A visitor to the site copied, published and later removed the code from his web forum, claiming he had been served legal notice by
Facebook. Facebook's response was quoted by the site that broke the
“ A small fraction of the code that displays Facebook web pages was exposed to a small number of users due to a single misconfigured web server that was fixed immediately. It was not a security breach and did not compromise user data in any way. Because the code that was released only powers the Facebook user interface, it offers no useful insight into the inner workings of Facebook. The reprinting of this code violates several laws and we ask that people not distribute it further. ”
In the UK, the Trade Union Council has encouraged employers to allow their staff to access Facebook and other social networking sites from work, provided they proceed with
In September 2007, Facebook drew a fresh round of criticism after it began allowing non-members to search for users, with the intent of opening limited "public profiles" up to search engines such as Google in the following
Similar services in other languages
Facebook clones throughout the world include:
StudiVZ — offered in a number of countries, including:
Germany: studiVZ.de (studiVZ on German Wikipedia)
Italy: studiLN.it (studiLN on Italian Wikipedia)
Spain: estudiLN.es (estudiLN on Spanish Wikipedia)
China: xiaonei.com (校内网 on Chinese Wikipedia)
Russia: vkontakte.ru (В Контакте on Russian Wikipedia)
South America unibicate.com
Turkey: studentSN.com , unihayat.com
Esperanto - Amikumu.com
All these sites share Facebook's success in their corresponding countries to a certain extent, according to Alexa.
(Approximate numbers as of August 2007).
Active users: 39 million
Search index size: 200GB
Largest networks: London, UK 1,268,000 and Toronto, Canada 859,000
Traffic rank: 8th
Photos: 1.7 billion (which averages to about 44 photos per user)
On March 2, 2007, a poll conducted by eMarketer.com of American youths in the United States discovered Facebook was the most viewed site among all respondents with more females aged 17-25 (69%) visiting the site than males
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