from The Guardian, UK
The social network’s new feature allows its users to promote their friends’ posts, even if they don’t want them to
Facebook announced the launch of a new feature on Friday that allows users to pay to promote their friends’ posts. In return for a fee, Facebook promotes the post so that more people see it.
Promoted posts don’t function outside of Facebook’s regular privacy settings, so people who can’t normally see a status update won’t be able to see posts that have been promoted.
Still, the new feature has already sparked privacy concerns because you don’t have to give your consent for a post to be promoted by one of your friends.
Facebook insists the new feature is intended to be helpful to users, giving friends the opportunity, for example, to promote posts about charitable activities: “If your friend is running a marathon for charity and has posted that information publicly, you can help that friend by promoting their post to all of your friends,” Facebook said in a statement.
But users could just as easily promote embarrassing status updates in jest or out of cruelty.
To use the new feature, which applies to users with fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers, you select the drop-down menu on the top-right corner of a friend’s status update, select “promote and share”, and pay the $7 fee. (Facebook is experimenting with the price.)
The launch of the feature illustrates how Facebook regards status updates: commodities that can be monetized. Whether or not the feature will generate any significant revenue for the company still remains to be seen, however.
Rumor has it that Linkedin is experimenting with a similar feature too, with a roll-out expected some time this year.
1.After reading the article, write a 200-300 word response for each of these two questions.
Q1) Who are the parties involved and what are their roles in the issue? What is happening and why?
Primarily, the party that is involved is Facebook. Facebook has served the world as a social networking service, providing us with the ability to communicate with our family and friends effortlessly by providing a common virtual space on the Internet. The need for the ability to disseminate information within the community we live in is very demanding in the inter-connected society we live in. Having the ability to reach out to the society on-the-go is essential, something one must have, or will be left lagging behind in the fast paced society of today. As the world progresses, the demand for network services will rise as the amount of information that needs to spread increases. And it is Facebook’s responsibility to keep up with societal expectations and demands.
Another party involved would be the users of Facebook. The usage of Facebook is largely widespread in the interconnected society we live in. Coupled with the invention of the smartphone, a social network platform such as Facebook enables information to be disseminated easily due to the fact that it is ‘portable’ on our smartphone. It is almost a given that everyone possesses a smartphone in the developed countries and as such, almost if not all information of daily commentaries, updates and news are posted virtually online. The way information is spread within our societies is in such a way that a social networking service like Facebook has become an integrated part of our lives.
Q2) How has this issue impacted various stakeholders? (Brainstorm using PRESMS. You should examine the impact on at least 2 stakeholders.)
Facebook has launched its new feature, one that allows users to pay to promote their friends’ posts. By improving its capability as a social networking platform, Facebook will be able to bring its reputation to new heights. This is most likely an initiation taken by Facebook to enhance its capability to spread information, catering to the needs demanded by the society. This could also be an action to pioneer a new form of advertisement to open Facebook’s exposure to newer markets and increase revenue. Either way, Facebook has to manage this new feature such that it does not clash with the privacy concerns of the public which could result in undesirable outcomes.
Users who often use Facebook now have the ability to promote their friends’ posts. And because you don’t have to give your consent for a post to be promoted by one of your friends, this has led to rising concerns of privacy, whether or not such a feature is able to meet the demands of the users without interfering with their security. If posts are advertised undesirably by other people in jest or out of cruelty, this could result in tension between the involved parties which defeats the original purpose of advertising for a better cause. On the other hand, this new feature will enable users to reach out to a broader community space as they are now empowered with the ability to advertise posts at an affordable cost in comparison to those like television commercials or ads.