The Money Changers

I ran into a discussion on Twitter about Facebook’s newest showing of its ethics.

The discussion came down to the question of who are the customers?

Most of the people who have established a feed on Facebook believe that they are the customers of Facebook. This is simply not so.

If you have established a feed on Facebook, you are the supplier, not the customer.

For your efforts in supplying Facebook with what they need to stay in business, they give you what you want, the ability to form an orientation in the environment of mostly your choosing.

As one commenter on the Twitter feed said, they give you this ability to form a positing in the Facebook environment “untaxed”.

But the information you give Facebook comes with a cost to you the supplier, and like all suppliers, you stay in “business” as long as your costs for what you supply is less than what you exchange it to Facebook for. And apparently that exchange is your private information in exchange for the privilege of being connected to the tax-free environment of Facebook.

Being connected is what you want, so there is no problem in this arrangement as long as you keep wanting. So Facebook needs to find and understand what you want.

This process of finding and understanding is the friction being created behind Facebook’s latest’s PR problems.

Facebook needs to know what it’s suppliers want (it already knows what its customer’s want) and the suppliers are not sure they want to give Facebook this information.

There is no harm in Facebook observing the market, but Facebook is not just observing. Facebook is getting inside the orientation of the suppliers, and that has an effect on the market, by taking away some of the advantage the supplier has. In other words, Facebook is choosing the customer over his supplier.

That may be something the supplier doesn’t want, and Facebook needs to deal with that, strawman or no.

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