Facebook has long been synonymous with talking to your friends, catching up on news and seeing what your friends have been up to the previous week. However, there is a change happening.

This swing in attitude, partly to do with the majority of businesses reacting to technological advancement, means Facebook for business is becoming more acceptable.

Who would have thought it, a private social network largely used for speaking to your friends, has now been overtaken by multinational corporations with the aim of exploiting the massive userbase which Facebook boasts.

It was only a matter of time before this happened. Why would businesses sit back and let this plethora of people go unnoticed. Of course these companies are going to want a slice of the pie, and there is no better way of taking a chunky slice of said pie by sitting back and watching the world go by.

When Facebook started it was hailed as the private social network for everyone to share and comment on their interests and likes. This grabbed everyone’s attention and created a utopian online environment where free speech was praised. This led to a surge in increased users and recommendations. This is how Facebook grew. By creating an idealistic platform for anyone, anywhere to join, for free, and to share their everyday moments and activities with their friends, or strangers, depending on how you wanted to go about managing your account.

Facebook Advertising

When Facebook realised that they had to start generating revenue and a return for their investors they introduced Facebook advertising, which businesses happily capitalised on (those are the remarketing ads on the right hand side of your news feed if you didn’t know). These ads are targeted towards your demographic, interests, likes, needs, wants, opinions – whatever you want to call it. Facebook claims that these are very well targeted and that if you place your product or service within this advertising space, you will convert visitors into sales. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but when was the last time you bought something online through a Facebook link? I certainly have never bought anything.

In fact, I have never even signed up to a promotion, downloaded a file or even entered my details after clicking an ad on ANY social media network. But there’s one critical question here – does that mean that nobody else does? No.

I do have another question though- and currently Google can’t answer this for me.

The above question funnily returns information only related to Facebook. I would of thought not, with semantic search being where it is, someone would have answered this question. Clearly not. If you do, write an article and send me a link.

My question to you now is – does Facebook for business really generate a return on investment? Maybe in some industries, for example restaurants, where you can post high resolution images of food and drink which may engage local customers who are nearby on their mobile.

Facebook is deeply engrained in people’s lives now and without it, many would be struggling with how to occupy their free time. How would these people be able to function properly without it?

On September the 3rd Facebook announced their Facebook education project which aims “to create a classroom experience that’s centered around students’ ambitions that takes advantage of all the technology and information accessible to a kid growing up today.” This inherently sounds like Facebook trying to capture the audience of the masses. Now they have an engaged audience of 1 billion people globally visiting their website everyday they are seeking to expand their reach and target children too. Ethically correct? Depending on your stance some may agree or disagree. I am more interested in how they will eventually use this data.

Data ethics has a big role to play in society and if you have a database of almost 1/7th of the world’s population surely there needs to be regulation involved in this data collection process.

For me, and many others, I’d imagine, this leap into education was almost inevitable. Let’s be honest, if you are able to capture the hearts and minds of a very large percentage of the human population, of course you are going to want to take a leap into education. It would be stupid not to. The question still exists though, will this data be used to generate genuine educational value or will it be used to feed and line the pockets of multi-national corporations? That question is still to be answered. I’m interested to see how this strategy is justified by Facebook over time and how it actually ends up performing. There’s one thing for sure and that’s it’s either going to be a large success for the educational sector or “Facebook for business” will start targeting their products towards lower age groups and demographics.

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