What To Do About Facebook

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In the PR world, Facebook is practically a necessity. With over a billion active users, Facebook offers the opportunity to reach a huge audience. PR professionals regularly manage public pages to communicate with the audience of their brands. However, Facebook has thrown in a few obstacles recently.

The biggest challenge seems to come from the Facebook Messenger application. Facebook recently announced that it would removing the messaging feature within its main application. Users would now have to download the separate Facebook Messenger app if they want to message on their phone.

However, the Facebook Messenger App comes with a few hitches. If downloaded, the app can delete people and messages from the user’s phone. It will also be able to access a smartphone’s camera, taking photos and videos without approval first. This invasion of privacy has produced a public outcry from Facebook users. Many have opted to not download the app and only message when on a computer.

So what should PR professionals do with Facebook? They should mainly use it for work. On a personal profile, communicators should skip private posts and intimate messages. PR pros should instead Facebook just for public relations. As Facebook becomes more shady in its practices, it’s important to use it conservatively. While Facebook is necessary for brands, it is slowly becoming outdated due to its policies and communication with users.

 

Facebook Down

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Did you notice Facebook’s massive outage? The social networking giant went down earlier this morning. For about 30 minutes, users were unable to access the website and mobile application. After thousands of error reports were filed and Twitter complaints were lodged, Facebook brought the site back up. Some estimate that the outage will cost Facebook half a million dollars.

Facebook did not disclose what issue caused the outage. This event marks their biggest outage since last October, when Facebook was down for four hours due to maintenance. Is this brief outage a big deal? Or just another inevitability of social media?

Facebook Reveals New Features

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It’s a big month for Facebook. They’ve received both positive and negative press as more information has come to light.

Customized Ads:

On the bright side, users now have more control over their ads. In their internal ad profiles, users will be able to add and delete their interests. This includes what kind of goods they’d be interesting in buying, like clothes or electronics. Users will finally be able to decide which ads are targeted on their feed.

Passive Listening:

On the controversial side, Facebook revealed an opt-in feature where their mobile application can passively listen into your music. That means that, if you choose, Facebook will know when you’re listening to specific artists and songs. Facebook can then post it as your status that you’re listening to say, Counting Stars by OneRepublic. Many users have reacted negatively to this feature, even going as far as to start an online petition. This petition, on Sum of Us, calls for Facebook to “Respect our privacy and do not release your new app feature that listens to users’ conversations.” However, it seems that most are unaware of this new feature.

Both of these new features continue to polarize Facebook users and marketers. In many ways, Facebook is a necessary but tiresome marketing tool. What do you think? Is Facebook’s passive listening feature acceptable?

Happy Birthday Facebook!

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One of the biggest names in social media, if not the biggest, turns 10 years old today. Happy Birthday, Facebook! Here’s to many more. You were once an idea of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s while he was in a Harvard dorm room. Now you’re a global company that connects people all over the world.

The website was originally just for Harvard students, but it has since grown to be available to anyone 13 years of age or older. I’ve been an active user since August 2006 when I first began high school. At the time, users had to be invited to join by their friends. I remember my friends saying I had to try out this new website that allowed you to post on walls and tag your friends in pictures. I didn’t know what they were talking about. At the time, I had just settled into MySpace and was interested in vamping my page with backgrounds and songs.

Now MySpace has all but disappeared and Facebook has become a social media giant. With over 1 billion users, Facebook is a huge business that affects us on a daily basis. As part of their birthday celebration, Facebook is giving users a chance to look at personalized videos of their profiles. It shows you when you joined, your biggest moments and your popular photos. I encourage you to try it! Simply go to https://www.facebook.com/lookback/ and see what your video looks like! (Hint: A preview of mine’s in the photo!)

I’m here to build something for the long term, anything else is a distraction.- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO