There's been some recent noise from users and several Not-for-Profits (NfPs) that they've started seeing a significant drop-off in the reach of their posts/ activity on Facebook. What seems to be happening is that Fb is cranking up the monetising effort. What effect this has is still unclear (could this be a turning point in our rose-tinted love-affair with Facebook?) but it does highlight how Facebook views, uses and exploits people.
The best example I've seen posted around is this one (not a NfP but valid nonetheless) ...
George Takei (Star Trek's Mr Sulu) encountered this drop-off a few weeks ago on his Facebook page, which has 2.1 million Likes. https://www.facebook.com/#!/georgehtakei
Legions of his his fans complained that they suddenly weren't receiving all his updates any more. (He's the centre of the FB meme universe at the moment... ) George approached Facebook, who told him that the previously automatic update to all fans had stopped. In order for his posts to appear, he would now have to use the 'promote post' option, and would have to pay for his updates to show on all his fans' timelines! George was horrified at this, naturally enough.
So what does Fb's approach (and method to monetise itself even further) say about it's relationship to people, the way it /treats/ people?
All of the content and all of the work invested in FB pages and communities by its' members is invested in a platform that has a single commercial objective. We're NOT the customer or beneficiaries of that objective, we are part of that commercial objective. We are the product.
Adrian Short in the Guardian:
"When you use a free web service you're the underclass. It's a cliché but worth repeating: if you're not paying for it, you're aren't the customer, you're the product."
Ironically, part of the response (in the NfP sector at least) is to consider jumping ship, from Facebook to Google+ ... which kinda smacks of jumping from the frying pan into the fire (unless you consider Google to be 'less evil')