The Facebook IPO has not gone as anticipated
Analysts blamed the poorer-than-expected first-day showing on the vast number of shares floated and market weakness. General Motors' decision to pull paid-advertising from the social network, announced this week, also hurt.
Nobody has yet mentioned a point which I consider obvious: The growing anti-Facebook movement has become mainstream. See, for example, here
(and please forgive the lengthier-than-usual excerption):
The issue of online privacy and data aggregation has become a hot topic—finally—in the wake of the Facebook IPO. Max Schrems, 24, the Austrian law student who sued Facebook for its complete record of his personal data was recently astounded to receive 1,222 pages of information. Some of it made sense—old Wall postings and photos—but some of it was material he had never even entered into Facebook. His action spurred more than 40,000 requests for Facebook data in Europe.
But have you thought about what lenders, credit agencies, insurance companies, and yes, prospective employers, can do with reports of your aggregated online data, as purchased by third party aggregators? Let’s say you posted Wall posts about a medical problem you or your child faced. Let’s say it was congenital heart trouble—a no-fault diagnosis if there ever was one. Keyword searches can gather this type of data for sale to the insurance industry. That information could result in you being dropped for health insurance coverage, life insurance policy refusal, or even the loss of a prospective job.
Facebook’s astounding net worth amounts to about $130 each for each of its 845 million subscribers. Do you think they earn this by those pop-up ads that nobody clicks on? Research (and investment bank leaks) show that the click rates on those Facebook ads are infinitesimal. That leaves data aggregation revenue from third party advertisers and other users.
And what kind of users are out there? The IRS is using online profiles against taxpayers under investigation. Let’s say your son or daughter posted some really great photos of a recent vacation to Rio for the whole family, just months after you filed your 1040 showing gargantuan business losses that included some hefty business expenses in Rio. Yes, people do. And the IRS finds them this way.
As a public company Facebook will be under pressure to maximize quarterly profits. That means selling your personal junk for profit. That is, after all, the bargain you made when you signed up. You receive the joys of free posting of all manner of personal information in exchange for Mark Zuckerberg & Co. to with it what they please.
In all probability, Facebook as it is presently monetized is a market distortion, a chimera. It must begin to sell more of your stuff to justify its market capitalization.
(Emphases added.) A few days ago, BizReport warned that skyrocketing public mistrust of Facebook
could impact the IPO:
The paid-for status test has highlighted user mistrust for Facebook, and so has a recent AP-CNBC poll of 1,004 Facebook users. It found that, despite spending between 6 and 7 hours per month on the social network, nearly 6 out of 10 users had little or no trust that Facebook kept their personal information private.
Furthermore, as Facebook nears its IPO, almost half (46%) of those polled said they thought Facebook was a passing fad while 43% believe the social network is here to stay for the long term.
MySpace died rapidly. Facebook's demise could come at an even more dizzying pace.
I warned everyone from the beginning: You do not need Facebook, which was funded by the CIA. (That's not conspiracy theory; it is unassailable fact.) Facebook is certainly not
A few years ago, I was the proverbial voice in the wilderness. Now, everyone seems to be catching on.
The solution to our privacy problems.
If Facebook dies on the vine, as it ought, the battle for privacy will still remain.
The NSA is storing every single electronic communication in the U.S. within their new facility in Utah. The decision to build that compound was not made democratically. Do you
recall any debate on the issue? Do you feel that your voice was heard? Did you get a chance to write to your congressional representatives?
No. You simply woke up one day and discovered that the NSA had built this monstrous thing.
Here's how to shut it down:
A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
Simple as that. Alas, nothing short of an amendment will do the trick. The intel community keeps the congressional oversight committees on a short leash.
I'm no lawyer, just a spitballing layperson. Nevertheless, here is my suggested, provisional wording for an amendment:
No agency of the United States government shall acquire, store, intercept, or surreptitiously become privy to the contents of any private communication of any United States citizen, unless that agency has first obtained a warrant, as prescribed by the Fourth Amendment to this Constitution and by applicable federal code. Such a warrant shall be required even if a private communication has been acquired and/or analyzed by mechanical, electronic or other non-human means, except when the author of said communication has provided explicit or implicit consent. Neither shall any agency of the United States government use an agency of a foreign government to evade the intent and spirit of this amendment.
Right now, the NSA operates under the theory that the government may use computers -- not human beings -- to datamine every email and chat log in the United States. This bizarre interpretation of the Fourth Amendment gives the NSA an excuse for spying on you without a warrant. The government programs computers to look for key words, which may be used to build cases against anyone who has inconvenienced a sitting administration in any way.
We need to restore our Constitutional protections.
Liberals and libertarians can work together to make make this happen.