Good engagement on the disconnect between how many people complain about Facebook despite its growing profitability.
How do we square Facebook’s data with the complaints we hear about the company — complaints that go far beyond the usual ones about the Internet and ascend to a new level of discontent about personal privacy, interface complexity and constant spamming of ads into our intimate lives? Are these anecdotal complaints just lies?
Facebook might dismiss these complaints as something you’d expect from a service with 1.1 billion members and growing: When a service gets big, whining gets loud. That might be convincing, except that there is one thing bigger than Facebook: the Internet. And I wonder whether you, or anyone you know — or anyone who works at Facebook, for that matter — hear as many complaints about the open Internet as they do about the walled garden that is the World According to Facebook.
That leaves us with a paradox about Facebook, one that its impressive financials only underscore. The more people complain about the company and the way it treats them, the more money this company makes from its users. What Facebook’s earnings tell us is that the disconnect between the fabulous Facebook numbers and the less-than-ideal Facebook experience will only get more and more pronounced.
This paradox is the very foundation of a cynically practical idea we can call Zuckism. Zuckism says that if you can tap a deep enough need at a big enough scale you can strip-mine a billion intimate lives for profit.