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‘Inside Facebook’ reveals the true value of users

Milly Diaz
Milly Diaz
Associate Director of Social Media
5 December 2011

Inside Facebook” is a must see for any Facebook user, especially if your only point of reference to date has been the Oscar-award winning flick, The Social Network.

Facebook is nothing without its users and it’s about time that all users truly understood their value. Throughout the documentary a reporter’s voiceover repeatedly asserted that trust in the platform is key to getting a high valuation for its public offering (industry experts speculate an early 2012 IPO for $100 BILLION).

In my opinion, the average user blindly trusts Facebook and hasn’t really considered how their information is being used for commercial gain by the platform.

For people working in digital media, much of what was brought to light by the documentary is old hat – we’ve seen/heard most of it before. As professionals, we understand essentially how our information is monetised and exploited by Facebook and can make educated decisions about the way we use the free platform.

Isn’t it only fair that civilians understand as well as we do, how Facebook is monetising their activities?

There are times when I feel like Facebook is a friend who takes advantage of the benefits of friendship. We all have that friend who always pushes too far and then pulls back just in time, eg. before things go too far and you want to sever that tie.

Those feelings surfaced for me when the documentary featured an interview with Facebook’s Vice President of Public Policy, Elliot Schrage. He was pressed by the BBC about a new Facebook ad scheme that essentially turns users into unwitting advertisers on behalf of brands.

It came to light that users do not have the option to ‘opt out’ of becoming uncompensated brand advertisers (all the money goes into Facebook’s pocket). His response to the BBC was a bit unnerving, “That’s an interesting…… you’re asking a profound question, what’s advertising?”…

His need to spin just felt like avoidance of the truth.

Did you watch the documentary? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you haven’t seen the documentary, here’s a preview video to whet your appetitie:

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