facebook as a business

Facebook as a Business



global comment corporation
post register one-quarter
net (3) average equivalent
triple influence over the past year
fee charge (2) consolidate
visible tailor (2) disadvantage
advert provide personality
effect target (2) political interest group
income regulation transparent
focus content responsible
sort customer shopping spree
brand dominate most valued brand


Video: Facebook’s Business




It was once just a small, student project. Now it’s a global corporation.

Around one-quarter of the world’s population is a registered Facebook user. Nearly two billion people post likes, comments and pictures. They spend an average of 42 minutes a day on Facebook.

The company almost tripled its net income over the past year, reaching the equivalent of nine billion euros.

The company doesn’t even charge fees.

So how is that possible?

The answer: Facebook members pay with their data. Every click makes the customers — and their interests — more visible.

Facebook then sells that information to other companies, so they can tailor their advertising to each Facebook user.

This is known as targeting.

For example, those who like cats get adverts for cat food. And not just any cat food. For one of its customers, Facebook sorted cat lovers into five personality types. Each one received targeted advertising.

In return for money, Facebook provides such data to all kinds of customers — including political interest groups. During the Brexit campaign, people in the fishing industry, who felt disadvantaged by EU regulations, were specifically targeted by Facebook — and to great effect.

But unlike its users, Facebook is not at all transparent. Who is influencing who and for how much money is not known.

And the website says it’s not responsible for the content of posts. Its executives are focused on growing the company instead.

Facebook has been on a shopping spree, further consolidating its dominant position on the digital market. It’s now the fifth most valuable brand in the world.

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1. Facebook began in a large, Silicon Valley laboratory. True or false?

2. Does everyone use Facebook? What do they do on Facebook?

3. Is Facebook a very successful and profitable company? Has it grown, shrunk or stayed the same size?

4. People have to pay a fee to register and be a Facebook member. Is this right or wrong?

5. How does Facebook earn money?

6. Is personal data in Facebook useful only to commercial enterprises?

7. Facebook knows people’s personal information and everyone knows about Facebook’s technical and business models and operations. Is this correct or incorrect?


A. All my friends and I have Facebook accounts. True or false?

B. How much time do your friends spend on Facebook? What do they do on Facebook?

C. Is Facebook important for you, your company or organization?

D. Are there any drawbacks about Facebook?

E. What will happen in the future?

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