CNN Tech recently posted an article titled When did Facebook become so Uncool?. In the article, they discuss Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and their soon-to-be-public status and the possibility that they’ve lost their hip image to a perception of being tech juggernauts. They cite a recent poll that indicates 28% of people having an unfavorable opinion of Facebook, which is reported to be three times higher than comparable industry titan, Google. Following their recent purchase of Instagram, several users threatened to remove all of their photographs from the service claiming they don’t want it to be part of Facebook.
What this article was trying to get across, it seems, was a distinct turning point in the social network’s history. They’re no longer an agile underdog, with 3,000 employees and almost $4 billion dollars of cash burning a hole in their pocket. They’re the force to be reckoned with, the one that the Pinterests and Tumblrs of the world both aspire to be, and fear.
Judging by the tone of the article, CNN seems to think this is the death knell for Facebook. However, I seem to remember another underdog who rose to the top only to garner accusations of trying to do too much, trying to obtain too much personal information, and having lost their cool factor. Google has been around the block, and has remained the (mostly) undisputed king of the internet. Approval ratings aren’t some static indicator of whether or not a company will survive. Admittedly, Facebook is undergoing a change in public perception. It’s time for them to armor-up, because they’re no longer going to be the “good guy”. They’ll be under public scrutiny to a level they haven’t been before, and everything they do from platform adjustments to business decisions will be held under a microscope. If they can handle this with some grace and tact, and keep delivering a compelling product, they could just emerge as the victors of social media war.