Profile: Facebook Inc (FB.O)
19 Dec 2013
Facebook, Inc. (Facebook), incorporated in July 2004, is engaged in building products to create utility for users, developers, and advertisers. People use Facebook to stay connected with their friends and family, to discover what is going on in the world around them, and to share and express what matters to them to the people they care about. Developers can use the Facebook Platform to build applications and Websites that integrate with Facebook to reach its global network of users and to build personalized and social products. Advertisers can engage with more than 900 million monthly active users (MAUs) on Facebook or subsets of its users based on information they have chosen to share with the Company, such as their age, location, gender, or interests. It offers advertisers a combination of reach, relevance, social context and engagement. Effective March 11, 2013, Facebook Inc acquired Mixtent Inc. In May 2013, Facebook Inc acquired Parse Inc. In September 2013, Mail.Ru Group Limited sold its remaining shares in Facebook Inc. Effective September 25, 2013, Facebook Inc acquired Mobile Technologies, a developer of online applications. In October 2013, Facebook Inc acquired Onavo Inc.
Products for Users
The Company’s products for users are free of charge and available on the Web, mobile Web, and mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS. It launched Timeline in September 2011, as an enhanced and updated version of the Facebook Profile. Timeline allows users to organize and display the events and activities that matter most to them, enabling them to curate their memories in a searchable personal narrative that is organized chronologically. Users choose what information to share on their Timeline, such as their interests, photos, education, work history, relationship status, and contact information, and users can control with whom each piece of content is shared on their Timeline. The Facebook News Feed is the core feature of a user’s homepage and is a regularly updating list of stories from friends, Pages, and other entities to which a user is connected on Facebook. It includes posts, photos, event updates, group memberships, app updates, and other activities. Each user’s News Feed is personalized based on his or her interests and the sharing activity of the user’s friends.
Facebook is a photo uploading service on the Web. Users can upload an unlimited number of high resolution photos, create photo albums, and share them with their friends or any audience they choose. Users can also upload and share videos. Users can set specific privacy settings for each of their photo albums and videos, making them visible to everyone, or only to certain friends. Users can arrange their photos, add captions, and tag people in a photo or video. Tagging allows users to identify a person in a photo or video as one of their friends. Its messaging products include email, chat, and text messaging. Groups are shared Facebook pages for groups of users to discuss common interests. Lists allow users to organize their friends in order to filter the stories shown in their News Feeds and reach or exclude specific people when they share on Facebook. Through Events, users can organize gatherings, manage invitations, and send event notifications and reminders to their friends. From the Events page, users can create a new event, check out upcoming events of interest to them and their friends, and view previous events.
Through Places, users can share their location and see where their friends are. They are able to see if any of their friends are nearby. Users can also check in to Places to tell their friends where they are, tag their friends in the Places they visit, or view Comments their friends have made about the Places they visit. Using Subscribe, users can sign up to receive public posts in their News Feeds from other Facebook users of interest, such as celebrities, thought leaders, and other public figures. Ticker is a live stream of the real-time activities of a user’s friends and the Pages and other entities to which the user is connected. On the top of each Facebook page, a highlighted icon is displayed to users when there is relevant and new information available to them, such as a new friend request, a new message from a friend, or an alert that the user has been tagged in a photo posted by a friend.
A Facebook Page is a public profile that allows anyone, including artists, public figures, businesses, brands, organizations, and charities to create a presence on Facebook and engage with the Facebook community. A Page owner can connect with interested users in order to provide updates, answer questions, receive feedback, or otherwise stimulate interest in the owner’s messages, products, and services. When a Facebook user likes a Page, the Page owner has the opportunity to publish stories to the user’s News Feed on an ongoing basis. In addition, when a Facebook user Likes or Comments on a post by a Page owner, that user’s action may be shared with the user’s friends via News Feed to drive awareness to a wider circle of users, increasing the Page’s exposure, recognition, and engagement. The Company does not charge for Pages, nor does it charge for the resulting organic distribution. As of March 31, 2012, there were more than 42 million Pages with 10 or more Likes, including Harvard, Lady Gaga, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Starbucks, and Boo (the World’s Cutest Dog), as well as millions of local businesses.
Products for Developers
The Facebook Platform is a set of tools and application programming interfaces (APIs) that developers can use to build social apps on Facebook or to integrate their Websites with Facebook. As of March 31, 2012, more than nine million applications and Websites were integrated with Facebook. Some of the elements of the Facebook Platform include open graph, social plugins, payments, applications on Facebook, desktop applications, mobile applications and platform-integrated Websites. The Open Graph is a set of APIs that developers can use to build applications and Websites that enable users to share their activities with friends on Facebook. Social plugins are social features that developers can easily integrate with their Websites by incorporating a single line of HyperText Markup Language (HTML) code.
Facebook provides an online payments infrastructure that enables developers to receive payments from users through a secure system. The Company has designed its Payments infrastructure to streamline the buying process between its users and developers. Its Payments system enables users to purchase virtual or digital goods from developers and third-party Websites by using debit and credit cards, PayPal, mobile phone payments, gift cards or other methods. Applications on Facebook run within the Facebook Website. The Facebook Platform has also enabled new types of social applications on Facebook beyond games to facilitate social sharing and discovery of music, news, television programming, and everyday interests, such as cooking, fitness, and travel. Developers can also build desktop apps that run on the operating system of a personal computer and offer experiences that are integrated with the Facebook Platform. The Facebook Platform for mobile has enabled developers to create engaging mobile applications that integrate with Facebook’s social and personalization capabilities. Websites can integrate with Facebook using social plugins, such as the Like button or design more deeply integrated social experiences built around users and their friends.
Products for Advertisers and Marketers
Facebook offers products that enable advertisers and marketers to leverage its combination of reach, relevance, social context, and engagement. When creating a Facebook ad, advertisers can specify a title, content, image, and destination Web page or Facebook Page to which a user is directed if he or she clicks on the ad. Advertisers can further engage their intended audiences by incorporating social context with their marketing messages. Social context includes actions a user’s friends have taken, such as Liking the advertiser’s Facebook Page. Ads with social context are shown only to a user’s friends, and the user’s privacy settings apply to social ads. It offers a range of ads with social context, from an ad with a single Like button to its Premium Ad paired with social context, which allows advertisers to highlight the interactions of a user’s friends with a brand or product.
Sponsored stories enable marketers to promote the stories they publish from their Facebook Page to users who have connected with the Page or to amplify the distribution of stories users are already sharing that are relevant to their marketing efforts. When advertisers create an ad campaign with Facebook, they specify the types of users they would like to reach based on information that users chose to share about their age, location, gender, relationship status, educational history, workplace, and interests. Advertisers choose to pay for their ads based on either cost per thousand impressions (CPM) on a fixed or bidded basis or cost per click (CPC) on a bidded basis. Facebook ad analytics enable advertisers to gain insights into which ads were displayed and clicked on. These analytics help advertisers make modifications to their ad campaigns. Advertisers with Facebook Pages can also view the number of users who Liked and Commented on their Page and a newly introduced metric, People Talking About This, which shows how many stories about their brand are being created and shared.
The Company competes with Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Cyworld, Mixi and vKontakte.
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