Facebook Was My Idea

Facebook wasn’t my idea necessarily, I’m just borrowing Microsoft’s Windows 7 ad campaign to make the point that most of Facebook’s features are not original to Facebook. And as such, most features in Facebook are borrowed, lifted, cut and pasted, inspired, and based on features from other sites. Flash-based games, image sharing, status updates, location-based check-ins, friending, etc. are all features that have made other social oriented sites successful, such as Pogo with Flash-based games, Flicker with image sharing, Twitter with status updates, and Foursquare with location-based check-ins, and on and on. Facebook is a hybrid of every successful feature developed, tried, and tested by other successful websites and web applications. Facebook is the Frankenstein of social networking sites, put together from the features of others sites.

Facemash, A website created by Zuckerberg prior to Facebook, was a clone of Hot-Or-Not specifically for Harvard students. But using his trademark of abusively, forcefully, and willfully opting user into options that they would not otherwise choose, Facebook used unauthorized pictures of Harvard students to seed his Facemash site.

Mark Zuckerberg’s true genius is that he has no ethics, in a another dimension or another time he could have easily been a Nigerian scammer or a Russian spammer. It is clear, from previous settled lawsuits and poorly planned privacy controls, Mark Zuckerberg can easily backstab a former founder and throw under the bus his whole user base.

Because Mark Zuckerberg has a skewed moral compass and as allegations of his character have been settled in court, it’s clear that it’s as easy for him to cheat a partner, hack into users accounts, sell out his users, obfuscate privacy settings, copy features, as it is for him to throw out code and re-execute on an idea. This is what Mark Zuckerberg is great at, to throw out a feature or code and try again and again and again even if users complain about backward compatibility, loss of privacy, excessive rights over user’s data.

So, the question that we can try to answer is, what feature will Facebook focus on next? To answer this, we need to survey the web application landscape and see what has been successful over the past year. Web search is an obvious space for Facebook to move into next. Facebook Credits and apps can lead to a healthy paid app market. Facebook has had a great success with it’s photo service, I could see them moving toward support for movies and videos. Facebook has also acknowledged that they are moving to provide a mobile platform, I can see them providing the social glue for mobile application as they have done for web applications. I the long run, I see Facebook as being as one of a few companies that can threaten Apple’s dominance over digital music. Groupon has been one of the hottest startups over this past year, maybe Facebook will get into social location base group coupons.

Most, if not all, of Facebook’s core features have been borrowed from other successful websites or services. Mark Zuckerberg has always taken a back seat to innovation but a driver seat into ramming features into users via opt-in settings. Mark Zuckerberg’s earliest website was a clone of a website popular at the time. As Facebook continues to evolve, what features do you think will be implemented in the social network?

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