As a Facebooker, my eye is caught whenever a news article pops up with regards to my favorite social networking haunt. What can I say? I love Facebook! It helps me keep in touch with people that I haven’t seen face-to-face in over 20 years, provides me with occasional fodder for the blog, and gives me an outlet for spreading good (or bad) news, increasing my readership, or simply venting my frustrations on a particular topic. In return, the nice peeps at Facebook have given me several interactive features with which to do these things. Having a Facebook account is tantamount to having my own website, replete with mail, chat, picture and video sharing, a bulletin board and search capabilities to find long-lost friends and acquaintances…all for free. As Facebook has stated on its sign-up / login screen since its inception; “It’s free and always will be.”
Since its February, 2004 beginnings, Facebook has decimated then-popular “Myspace”. (There’s a joke making the rounds in the “Face-space”, that if you go far enough back on your Facebook timeline, you’ll end up back on Myspace!) In 2012, Facebook went public with an IPO negotiated at $38 per share. Since their rocky start on the market, the company has thrived. Now, Facebook is reaping some very surprising rewards.
According to a recent Fox News article, Facebook raked in over 1 billion dollars in profits in the 2012 tax year, on which it will pay…zero dollars in federal and / or state taxes. That’s right, my fine young readers. Facebook is effectively tax-exempt for tax year 2012! What makes this story even sweeter for Zuckerberg, et. al. is the fact that they (the company) will be receiving refunds totaling $429 million, and in the next three years, totaling $3 billion. (1) (I would kill to be getting that large of a tax refund!) If the Internal Revenue Service has a Facebook page, you can bet that Mr. Zuckerberg is clicking their “like” button repeatedly.
[SOAPBOX=ON] Which brings me to the point of this piece; since Facebook has come out smelling better than ten dozen of the finest roses on God’s green earth, what do we, the faithful Facebooking multitude, get as a reward? In my way of thinking, Facebook wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for its users. Now, I’m not suggesting that Mr. Zuckerberg start writing checks to each user, but that some increase in consideration for user input and suggestions might be nice. For example:
- How about adding a “Dislike”, or a “Thumbs Down” button? There are indeed some posts that friends have made that would have occasioned the use of this proposed button, like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or other social issues. In addition, bad jokes, smack talk and other ill favored posts could fall under this category. Then, similar to You Tube, the average between “likes” and “dislikes” could also be displayed.
- How about making the Timeline an option? I have several friends who absolutely hate the new Timeline format, and would rather have their old pages back.
- How about an option to turn all game invites off? There are those of us who don’t care about “Superfarkles”, “Cityvilles”, “Farmvilles”, “PotFarms” and such, and use our Facebook accounts for other, more straight forward things like social networking, chatting and things of that nature. We don’t want to be bothered with the incessant game invites. (My aunt actually cited this as one of the reasons that she was leaving Facebook.)
- How about bringing back the option to send a quick message with friend invites? We could do this once upon a time, but that feature seems to have pissadeered!
- How about getting rid of those advertisements and “suggested page” entries from my newsfeed? Keep the ads over on the right-hand side of the screen where they belong, si vous plait!
- How about being a bit more responsive to user concerns about posts that blatantly violate the Facebook TOS? (I have personally brought three of these to their attention, with only one being removed. Things like hate speech definitely need better policing by the folks at Facebook.)
In my humble opinion, things have in fact gotten better with Facebook overall, as time has gone by. There are however, those few things that I cited that need improvement, and I think they would be well worth the $429 million of free money that Facebook is receiving from the coffers of the American taxpayers.