During the first half of 2012, Facebook has enjoyed an eventful year: its IPO was [moderately] successful. It bought Instagram, the world’s most popular photo-sharing app in April, days before the initial public offering, and it boasts close to a billion users around the globe. The question is will Facebook successfully transform itself in an ever-evolving mobile world though? Troubles mount as experts ponder the fate of the world’s largest social network.
Current State of Affairs
No one dares argue there currently is a larger, more influential social network in existence. Its growth was phenomenal, but the SocNet giant is losing members in established areas almost faster than it expands its newer markets.
Opening in Canada and the United States, users in those countries are peeling away as Facebook attempts to adapt its web-based platform. Complaints from intrusive advertising to changed settings to privacy violations, Facebook users seem to be waiting with bated breath for a better system, and they are flocking to other platforms with hopes high.
Facebook’s IPO brought share prices of $38 at the late opening bell of the NASDAQ. Founder Mark Zuckerberg was privileged to ring that bell that day (remotely), but it seems to have confirmed the predictions of overpricing. Stock prices have fallen to under $27 per share since then, and there’s no current estimation of a turn-around (now back up into the low $30′s). Investors who have lost that $11 per share are stoic about the decline, hoping it was just the expected market adjustment and that Facebook’s future is more solid.
Copyright Infringement Allegations
On June 25th, Facebook rolled out what they are now calling a test app called Find Friends Nearby. Almost immediately, Friendthem raised accusations of trademark infringement under US Copyright Law, Title 27 of the US Code.
Facebook folded up the roll-out on the 26th, stating it was merely a test of an app, and that a roll-back was scheduled. Friendthem states it was in response to the copyright violation claims.
The issue may be headed for legal action or a large settlement, depending on whether documenting information is confirmed.
Mobile Surfing Increase
Facebook’s mobile app that connects tablet and mobile handset users to its network is popular, but it doesn’t present the same options, relative ease of use, and functionality of its full website, and users are not generally very happy with it. Many who access the site via a mobile device do so while surfing and not via the mobile app.
Meanwhile, advertisers are tapping into the mobile market, and some industry followers project lost advertising revenue on Facebook’s website into the millions of dollars by the end of 2012.
Despite its popularity and the acquisition of Instagram for picture sharing, the mobile app with the familiar blue and white icon cannot keep up with its rather hefty website presence and cost, experts argue. Some financial and mobile technology experts have extended their estimations to predicting Facebook, the largest social network today, will lose up to 90 percent of its revenue, presence, and influence by the year 2020, following in the footsteps of tech icon Yahoo!.
All agree, however, that Facebook is trying to adapt to the mobile marketplace. We’ll see whether they succeed.
Guest post by Jaye Ryan, a freelance author who enjoys writing about technology and mobile networking for MobilePhones.org.uk.
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