Having 250 million members, Facebook is huge. If it was a country it
would be the fourth country in the world measured on population size
(US is third with 300 million, India and China are the numbers 2 and 1
with more than one billion people). It is an immense number and it is
just a matter of time before Facebook will separate itself from the
traditional Web. With 250 million active members, one out of approximately
every six people who can be online is a member of Facebook.
Why should Facebook want to leave the traditional web? Because they
can? Facebook has an immense userbase and this userbase contributes
immense numbers of data (which can be information and knowledge) to the
platform. Every day five billion minutes are spend on Facebook, every
week one billion pieces of content are added and shared. Most of this
content is not shared with the outside world, is not indexable by for
example Google and is thus only available within the great wall of
Facebook. So Facebook already left the Web by keeping most if its
content inside its network.
Facebook does not need other sites
on the Web, other sites need Facebook. Why would Facebook still hinder
its members with the rather old-fashioned WorldWideWeb (which is slow,
since you first have to resolve the URL into an IP address via DNS,
then do the HTTP request to the web server, than receive the HTML and
other files and than render the page) and why wouldn’t they introduce
their own implementation (facebook:// instead of http://) which could
do more than just the aforementioned process?
Facebook has the
size to introduce its own browser-like platform, its own
operating systems and perhaps even its own hardware line. Facebook
could disrupt the Web and create a new (proprietary?) standard on how
the new Web could be. They can, because one out of every six people
that is online, has a Facebook account. They can because they have got
such immense amount of data and people who are spending so much time on
it, people will miss it when it is gone.
Facebook can, however will they do it?
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