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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  • Facebook was attacked by an exploit which perpetuated a wide array of out-of-control news stories on the News Feed, including violence, animal mutilation and in some cases, pseudo images of celebrities engaged in sexual activity. 

    ZDNet's Violet Blue broke the story, which explains the problem users' were having.

    There was outrage by Facebook users, some for which threatened to leave the site altogether, either until it was gone or for good.

    Facebook said that it had control of the situation after more than 24 hours of battling the exploit, some thought to be a virus or some kind of malware. The hacking collective Anonymous was blamed at first after seeking to 'destroy' the site on Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th). But Facebook said that it had identified 'who was behind' the attack.

    Since then, the web erupted with anger, and even Congress wanted answers over Facebook's responsibility to its users.

  • Facebook and other social networks, along with businesses that operate within the confines of Europe, or have European users and customers 'must adhere' to European law, European Commissioner Viviane Reding said earlier this month.

    While Facebook said that it was 'already compliant' with European law, particularly with the new 'right to delete' or 'right to be forgotten' feature of the new Directive, one had to wonder how compliant the social networking giant actually was, or currently is.

    The European bureaucrats already have it in for Facebook after a number of high-level privacy battles and data protection matters. Since Facebook opened up a datacenter on European soil in Dublin, Ireland, it has been a target for more focused criticism over the past couple of years. Europe's 'mission' against Facebook will not go away, seeing as it was the same Commissioner who said that Facebook had "nowhere to hide" over its data protection policies.

  • Ireland's data protection agency has launched its privacy audit into Facebook's activities, particularly to examine how data is retained and used for the company's benefit.

    Companies for certain lengths of time should not hold data or when the data is no longer useful, European law says.

    But Facebook appears to retain almost every shred of data that it has on its users, according to data access requests others' have published on the web, including pokes that were removed and postings that were deleted. Even friends you have removed from the site are retained in Facebook's vast data banks.

    If Facebook is found to have broken European law, the social networking giant could be fined up to €100,000 ($135,000) for every breach. 

    Facebook has more users in Europe than it does in the United States, meaning Facebook not only has more to lose in the confines of the European space, but the data protection rules are far more severe than the United States.

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

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

    I won't miss them if they go away.
  • 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.
  • Good logo

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

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



  • 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