Facebook is nothing special. Its features are not revolutionary or technologically groundbreaking. It wasn’t the first social networking or online profile website. In fact, there are very few unique elements to Facebook that you cannot find elsewhere on the internet.
However, Facebook is not only the most popular website on the planet, its millions of users willingly dispense their most personal information. We upload photos of our children, talk about our vacations and likes and dislikes, and share our marital status, gender, hometown, religious views and birth date. We identify our family members and point out our friends. We publish our exact location live via our smartphones’ GPS. Some of us would probably enter our social security and bank account numbers if there was a box for it on the Edit My Profile screen.
People are trusting by nature, and we expect others to treat us like we would treat them. We trust Facebook to keep our information private, sharing it only as we would like. We forget the company is a for-profit corporation. The heads at Facebook may be the nicest people in the world, but they still have to explain themselves to the investors that forked over the megamillions needed to fund such an ambitious project. Those investors want one thing: a high rate of return on their money.