FACEBOOK goes public May 18 and what that means to YOU

FACEBOOK goes public May 18 and what that means to YOU

Facebook has announced that it is expected to go public on May 18 in one of the most highly anticipated public offerings since 2004 with Google.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook, the most popular social networking company on the web today has meetings thumbs_up_icon_800_clr_7661established with prospective institutional investors to stimulate interest in the company’s stock. According to various reports, the social media giant is expected to go public on either May 17th or 18th. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be attending some of these meetings, the Journal reported.

Last month, Facebook announced its intention to buy Instagram, a popular mobile photo-sharing application for $1 billion, its largest acquisition to date. During the first quarter, Facebook’s net income fell 12 per cent, weighed down by higher expenses even as its revenue soared.

fast track website buildingIn their first fiscal quarter, Facebook’s net income fell to $205 million ending March 31, down from $233 million a year earlier, while shareholders net income also fell from $153 million to $137 million. Despite the decline in earning shares from 11 cents to 9 cents, Facebook’s annual revenues rose 45% to $1.06 billion.

As of March 31, 2011, Facebook also reported an increase in users. The popular social media forum now has 901 million monthly active users, up from 845 million as at the end of 2011.

What does this mean for Facebook

TheCaliforniacompany wants to raise about $US5 billion ($A4.85 billion), increasing the total value of Facebook to approximately $100 billion.  Going public is one way to acquire additional for new projects and to feed further investments. But this is not the only reason they are doing it.

The truth is, Facebook has simply outgrown its boots. Once a company reaches a threshold of 500 investors, it is forced to file papers with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Since this has recently happened to Facebook, they are being forced to go public.

What does this mean for us?

When Facebook goes public, it will mean that new investors will have a say in how the company is being run. Consequently, these new investors will also have influence over how your and my personal information is being store, used and sold. Several experts suggest that as Facebook users, we can expect higher volumes of advertising and data mining of our personal information. Data mining refers to the gathering, indexing and cataloguing of your information (such as: your name, address, phone number, marital status, interests, hobbies, employment status, etc.) for sale to advertisers and marketers worldwide.

Think you get a lot of junk mail, junk email and phone solicitations now?  Just wait until the company goes public.  With Facebook on the public stock exchange, we can all expect an increase in being marketed to in all areas – online, email, print and phone. Whatever information you post on Facebook becomes publically owned information, so post wisely.

On the bright side, more money for Facebook and more input from others will mostly likely result in having more apps, games and functionalities added to what is currently available. But we careful!! Apps and games are also a great way for third parties to collect and access your personal information and sell it to marketing lists and catalogues.

What can I do to protect yourself?

Unfortunately, all the information you currently have posted and included on Facebook is already catalogued in their data banks.  But these lists are being updated all the time.

The first thing you can do is be aware!!

Take a couple of minutes to go into your profile settings and options. Is your personal or cell number listed? Does your profilespy guy info include your street address or postal/zip code? You may want to delete this. There is nothing you can do much about the information Facebook has already collected about you but you can be aware of how much information you give away moving forward.

The second is to be smart about it.

I am talking about being smart about what you post and HOW you post it. At the top-right corner of each post is a small icon that lets you choose whether you want that post to be public or private. Public means that anyone can see the post, regardless of whether they are on your friends list or not. Private means that only your friends can see it. Each time you post a photo of your children or the latest chapter in your love life, give some thought into whether you want this information to be public or not.

The third is to be aware of the apps and games you use.

As I mentioned above, apps and games are a clever way for companies to gather and sell your personal information. Agreeing to the terms on some of these apps also grants them permission to access files on your computer!!  The best rule of thumb is to check out the app by doing a Google search on them, read some feedback from current users and read the terms and conditions before you download (this will tell you what you are agreeing to give them access to) .

Last but certainly not least is to clean house.

I am talking about cleaning out your cache regularly. Daily or weekly cleaning should be done. If your computer is not set up to do this automatically, just Google it for simple instructions on how to clean your cache. It’s quite simple and no technical expertise is needed. Cookies are little drops of code websites deposit on your computer when you go there. They are one way websites can follow you around, know where you’ve been, what you have clicked on, etc. Not clearing your cache also leaves the door wide open to malware and spyware, that can track the user names and passwords you use. Some can even record your key strokes.

And If you do your banking online, then I strong recommend you clean your cache before and after you banking transaction. (And always make sure you LOG OUT. Don’t just close the window.).

Want to puchase Facebook stock?

As for the public trading itself, don’t expect to be able to purchase Facebook shares anytimeaction vs inaction - when is good enough really 'good enough'? soon unless you have a few million in holdings you are looking to invest. If you do, then you can find Facebook’s public stock listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “FB”.

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