Well, today represents a rather large mile-stone for everybody’s favourite social network. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced on the official blog that they have now surpassed the 300 million user mark. This is quite astounding news, and even if we discount the many fake and/or multiple accounts it’s quite likely that Facebook now has a user population larger than the United States. If not, it will very soon.
Not only this, but the post also highlights the fact that Facebook was cash flow positive over the last quarter – a feat that they apparently were not expecting to achieve until sometime in 2010. It is an interesting aspect to keep an eye on, as there has been quite a bit of skepticism surrounding the profitability of social network sites. Although Facebook isn’t quite out of the woods yet in regards to turning a true profit (the figures do not take into account large expenditures like the recent purchase of FriendFeed), the fact that they are taking in more money from advertising then they are spending on maintenance costs is a big sign of the viability of the sector.
The important thing to keep in mind from our perspective is that as Facebook becomes ever more popular, the need to protect yourselves from phishing attacks and malware become more of a concern. It has recently been highlighted that there are many privacy issues concerning the use of your data by applications – even those merely installed by your friends and not yourself can access all of your information if you are not careful.
So, take the time right now to go and check your application privacy settings and uncheck all of the boxes there so that your friends don’t lead to your private information being scraped by anybody with even a pinch of programming ability. Don’t just protect yourselves, remind your friends as well – the culture of privacy on the internet is fading rapidly, and we need to make sure that our lack of concern in this area doesn’t become a feeding frenzy for those who wish to profit from abusing our information.