There’s nobody anywhere, who doesn’t know somebody somewhere, that has a Facebook account. This mega social media giant has methodically climbed its way to the top of the social media heap and now Facebook is poised to be the Internet’s new global Walmart by sheer force of will. There was quick massive growth for the considerably young company in just a handful of years (not young by internet standards of course) and once it took that major leap in 2012 to become an IPO, it hasn’t looked back once and continues to grow at an exponential rate.
Anyone over the age of seven who uses the big three W’s should be familiar with Facebook and may have had, or perhaps has an account. It has become typical for users to activate and deactivate their Facebook accounts, sometimes depending on their level of irritation with the site itself or at the world in general. But love it or hate it, Facebook is here to stay.
The popular site has been stealthy in some of its efforts to wrest control of the internet in more and more ways. Allegedly, Facebook has just recently applied for a patent enabling it to be the sole clearing house for the web, the gatekeeper so to speak. Recently, news that has rocked the “viral” internet world, Facebook recently changed its news feed algorithm to supposedly favor “high quality” news sources over those that traffic in gimmicky, bait and switch viral content.
This was a major blow to many smaller internet companies and news sites that were dependent on the shares and “likes” of Facebook’s massive users. Many of those users haven’t even noticed the changes as they don’t even know it’s happening. Conversely, almost everyone has noticed that just about every other site, where one might want to leave a comment requires a log in from a social media site, Facebook and Twitter being the most common.
As Facebook positions itself to become the Internet’s new global Walmart, the world must decide just how much control it’s willing to let the social giant have over its web content. So, much like the giant super store, Facebook is buying all it can in every available niche and market and investing in the infrastructure of developing countries in order to cement its stake in the control of what the public views. Basically, there seems to be a desire on the part of the media titan to give the people what it wants it to have, as opposed to the people being in control of what they see.
For instance today they might see, “Face’book’, coming to a device near you!” Then in five years it will be “Face’mart’, already in every device near you!” Far fetched? Far from it! Similar to the super store giant that managed to edge out small mom and pop stores in several areas and establish itself as the One-Stop-Shop ruler of global consumerism, Facebook has been buying up small internet app and tech companies in a bid to corner the emerging mobile market as well.
Connecting people in emerging markets is the main goal of their baby, Internet.org. It is widely presumed by market watchers that places like Brazil and several African nations that are grossly under-served with very low penetration, will be plumb opportunities for growth. The connectivity is definitely possible and Facebook has raced to the front of the line to fill that gap.
Not surprisingly, Facebook already has an astounding 1.15 billion users as of the most recent count. By improving on those numbers and getting internet access to millions of other people around the world, it will improve the odds of getting them on Facebook as well. More users, more advertiser money, more money, more power, more power, more control over content. It is that simple and that scary too.
Mark Zuckerberg has said himself that the company plans to create several more apps and new experiences that users will not even recognize as what Facebook is today, which confirms that its grab for internet domination will be far-reaching. It will be interesting to see the Facebook brand’s effect’s on the world stage as it makes a full court press to be the Internet’s new global Walmart. So get ready, the domination is most assuredly imminent.
Op-Ed By Mai Nowlin