Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

Summary: A look back at some of the major controversies to grip the world's largest social network over the past few months. Is Facebook teetering on the edge of collapse?

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  • And, speaking of government controversy, let's explore the Germany 'facial recognition' saga more closely.

    Facebook rolled out a tagging system that would recognise your friends' faces, and tag them on your behalf. A seemingly normal thing, with a touch of possible artificial intelligence, maybe? It seemed cool to some people, but Germany thought it was anything but.

    Germany came out and said that Facebook has violated German privacy laws, for scanning the faces of its citizens who use the site, Germany’s top data protection official, Johannes Caspar, wrote to Facebook to demand that its facial recognition software does not infringe German users’ privacy, and to delete any related data.

    Germany could impose fines of up to €300,000 ($430,000), but is looking also to sue Facebook to prevent it from doing it in future.

  • Another Facebook buster from ZDNet's Violet Blue, who reported the state of Facebook's 'pro-rape' culture, where users set up pages and seemingly joke about rape and sexual assault, and the degradation of women.

    According to Blue, it took nearly 200,000 signatures on a petition and a Twitter campaign to get the pages removed. Facebook finally caved in.

    But why did it take the social network so long to comply with the requests made? Facebook was not even abiding by its own Terms of Service, which expressly forbids this kind of behaviour on the social network. 

    Not only did it look as though Facebook was endorsing these vile pages based on the fact they still remained, even after a series of calls to remove them, but it just looked like the social network didn't care. 

    Facebook has previously come under fire for deleting pages that discuss female sexuality, and even labelled one page of a breast cancer survivor as 'pornography'. Sometimes there are just no words.

  • Facebook's new Timeline profile page replacement throws up a whole series of privacy related issues. Anyone will in the coming weeks and months be able to search all the very way back on a person's page all the things that were said say, on December 27th, 2008, or last month, or three years ago -- or even as far back as the day they joined.

    Though many users will not remember half the things they posted on Facebook last year, let alone last week. But this new profile page replacement will allow any one of your friends to go back and search for posted content two or three years ago, or even further back. Who knows what kind of teenage 'angsty' things were said, and the embarrassment it will cause?

    Not only were users not informed of these changes, and instead thrown into the fray of it, it once again shows that Facebook will just issue changes as part of its opt-out strategy. Even in this case, users will not be able to opt-out of the new Timeline feature at all.

    Likened to a 'stalkers paradise', once this feature rolls into place -- which has already been delayed -- we could be seeing a lot of users leave the site. Will Facebook ever reach its holy-of-all-holy 1 billion-user milestone?

Topics: Security, Collaboration, Data Centers, Legal, Social Enterprise

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17 comments
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  • Beginning of the end for the social networking giant? No.

    the vast majority of the over 800 million people who use it don't care about anything in the news about Facebook. Those that are would (rightfully) assume any competing product is just teh same.

    No, I can't see any mass exodus or anything. People in general don't care.
    William Farrell
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @William Farrell
      I absolutely agree. On average, people just don't care.
      lass23
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @William Farrell

      "the vast majority of the over 800 million people who use it don't care about anything in the news about Facebook."

      And the vast majority of the 7 billion people in the world don't care about Facebook.
      cracker1
    • I would have to agree with you.

      @William Farrell
      I would argue that most people have not suffered anything personally from any issue with Facebook, and since it is doing what they need it to do, they do not care.
      :|
      Tim Cook
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @William Farrell
      Considering Facebook and Microsoft still exist after all their anti-competitive behaivour and privacy abuse, you might have a fair point.
      anono
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    I won't miss them if they go away.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    I doubt this is the beginning of the end. You could make a very similar list for Google and Microsoft.<br><br>Facebook is too entrenched. People like to use the downfall of MySpace as an example of how fickle users can be. The primary difference is that MySpace wasn't a platform. There was no way their developers, even if competent, could keep up with the hordes of applications that come out for Facebook everyday. Just this week both Skype and Paypal have released applications for Facebook. Google+ got "Pages". Neat.
    Rich Miles
    • Sorry ... but Facebook is no Google, much less a Microsoft

      @Rich Miles Google is a company created by providing a product that was desperately needed.

      Microsoft is a company with many products and longevity. It also was a company built on a product desperately needed.

      On the other hand, Facebook is a company that provide a simple service that is easily replaceable. All it takes is for somebody else to open a more user friendly service .... and people will drop out faster than flies during an insecticide fogout.

      Facebook is like MySpace and Geocity. A temporary "fad" that already reached is peak and is already on a spiral decline.

      There is absolutely NOTHING that Facebook can transform into. Facebook is a real one trick pony company who's primary earnings are based on (legally) stealing private information and selling it to the highest bidder. That kind of business only last for a few years.
      wackoae
  • Good logo

    But are you implying that facebook is a scandal-ridden disaster of Enron proportions?
    tkeller1
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    No - if anything people are finally realizing the social "networking" is flat boring and sad... I mean look at Google+ It has a user base, but of my 400 friends 3 are on it... and that was after they opened it up to everyone.
    ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @ItsTheBottomLine
      No one is saying it's the end of Facebook. But the question is, is it the beginning of the end?
      anono
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    Lol, "beginning of the end" riiiiiiiight.

    Not sure what the point of this article is except to highlight a few "issues" Facebook has met this year and no one really cares about. 99% of users on Facebook are completely unaware or simply don't care about the issues mentioned.
    spaulagain2
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    This article would be more persuasive if it weren't full of grammatical errors.
    Fred H
  • Facebook should get what it deserves.

    The Facebook user application turned into a cluster_____. It has no regard for its users and I've never trusted the privacy settings. Three months ago I deactivated my Facebook account for the third and final time. By the way, it won't let you delete your account data!
    M142222
  • Uhh.. What?

    Facebook needs to get their act together, but I don't see them going away anytime soon. Social networking isn't a fad. People want to keep in touch with old and new friends and Facebook delivers a very easy way to do it. If a new social network site that was as easy to use as Facebook was to popup, then I can see FB fading away. I have to laugh every time I see articles comparing everything to Google on ZDnet.

    Also.. I have to laugh at the pretended motto of Google as "don't be evil"... Those guys really hate it when I bring up Germany and other privacy concerns that has been announced in the news the last two years. lol... ZDNet has a long history of Google fanboyism. Remember articles posted here calming that Google was going to take down MS with their new OS? lol.. (this was before Vista shipped).
    Qix77
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    http://qqurl.in/HjdMYZ

    http://qqurl.in/HjdMYZ

    http://qqurl.in/HjdMYZ
    chzhrr
  • Myspace / Facebook/ next one

    looking for help combining Myspace with facebook to create "realspace" unlimited uploads to allow free speach and free sharing of ideas music and freedom just like the founders of this great country
    Garrison Bulkley