Five things Facebook did this week
Social media giant reaches milestone, fumbles privacy
It was a busy week for Facebook, which hit a major milestone, made fashion news and made some users uneasy about privacy again.
In case you missed it, here are the highlights:
1. Reached 1 billion users
In short: As of October 4, one of every seven people on the planet are actively using Facebook each month. "Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life," Zuckerberg told CNN Money.
The reaction: On the CNN Facebook page we asked if readers knew anyone who didn't use the service.
Responses came in from around the world, including China, where a Facebook user said the service is "not allowed."
Shauna Racette-Graham wrote, "Yup I know ppl who don't use FB, I think they are just weird."
Jo Ann wrote, "Yep, my mother. Yet she has no problem texting me obsessively!"
Chris Horne may not know them personally, but he wrote, "Tons of old people don't use Facebook."
The most detailed answer probably came from Esperanca Pizzolante, "My mom, some colleagues, an ex-boyfriend, a politics teacher two or three financial executives..."
2. Released an ad that confused people
In short: As a way to celebrate their role as the connective tissue of society, Facebook released their first advertisement, "The Things That Connect Us." The ad compares the site to things ranging from bridges to chairs. The reaction: A parody Twitter account @Facebookschair and general head-scratching.
"Does anyone understand that Facebook ad yet?" posted @Facebookschair "I don't and I was its star!"
"Chairs are for people. And this is why chairs are like Facebook" the ad states, showing rows of empty chairs.
"Honored to have been featured in Facebook's first commercial," posted @InvisibleObama, a parody account that cropped up after Clint Eastwood's mock debate with an empty chair at the Republican convention.
3. Had CEO Zuckerberg admit he wears the same thing every day (as if we couldn't see)
In short: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview on "NBC's Today" that he lives a "simple" life and proudly wears the same thing every day. (A grey T-shirt) The reaction: Making too many decisions about mundane details is a waste of your mental energy, says the Harvard Business Review.
In the October issue of Vanity Fair President Obama said this: "You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," he said. "I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."
He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one's ability to make further decisions. It's why shopping is so exhausting. "You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can't be going through the day distracted by trivia."
Other successful people known to wear the same thing every day? Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein.
CNN Commenter MarkM87 said, "How you dress reflects you personality. When you look good, you feel good. Zuckerberg is obviously an incredibly boring person with no personality."
Bruno Domingues disagrees. "Funny, I do the same thing. Because I don't like to have to think about what I am going to wear so when I find something I like, I buy more than one piece. Just very practical people I guess."
4. Redefined private
In short: The Next Web reported Thursday that Facebook "confirmed scanning users' private messages for shared links to Web pages with Like buttons, so it can increase the number of corresponding Likes for those pages." Facebook's response: "We did recently find a bug with our social plugins where at times the count for the Share or Like goes up by two, and we are working on a fix to solve the issue now. To be clear, this only affects social plugins off of Facebook and is not related to Facebook Page likes. This bug does not impact the user experience with messages or what appears on their timelines."
An update and further explanation are at The Next Web.
The reaction: Spke posted, "Who cares, exactly what gmail does to serve ads"
"This has to make you wonder what other stats FB is inflating," @rk tweeted.
5. Offered to promote personal posts -- for a $7 fee
In short: Users in the U.S. can promote their personal posts for a $7 per-post fee. "When you promote a post it is placed higher in the news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it," Facebook wrote in a blog post. The reaction: "$7 to promote you posts? There's a Zucker born every minute," wrote sapient69.
Many suggested cutting down on the number of "fake friends."
Lisztman wrote, "I don't see a problem with someone paying to advertise. The sidebar does that very nicely. What I'd rather see? A mechanism for the subscriber (that would be me) to push certain post-ers, or friends, up or down. I believe that what I see on MY newsfeed should be what I myself wish to see -- not what someone else thinks I need."
The reaction on the CNN Facebook page was a capitalized and often heavily punctuated "NO!"
"Hell no I'd just Google+," wrote Kevin E Poindexter.
"If that happens I will use MySpace," wrote Michelle Marie Denison.
Justin, I hope you're listening.
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