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Top 10 pitfalls for Facebook to avoid now it has gone public

20 May 2012

Now Facebook has unleashed its stocks to the market in the most eagerly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) of the decade, everything seems rosy for the firm and its founders, who have made a shed load of cash.

The site currently boasts over 900 million users, and will no doubt hit one billion in the near future, while its rivals are nowhere to be seen, with Google+ gathering dust and Twitter, while hugely popular, still far behind in the user stakes.

However, Facebook can't rest easy. The company isn't even 10 years old and there will be many challenges ahead, not least around privacy and user security, which have dogged it for many years. The spotlight is only set to get brighter as the stock market watches its every move.

As such, V3 has come up with 10 key points that Facebook may wish to consider in order to ensure the buzz around its IPO is justified and is the start of a long and successful history.

10. Stay charitable
Facebook has always been good at being charitable. The social network has committed to going green and has even promoted organ donation. But if Mark Zuckerberg's brainchild wants to stay "liked", it will need to keep up its helpful nature.

It must be tempting to go all evil corporation. The thought of blowing $104bn on new hoodies must sound pretty sweet. But Facebook needs to remember where it came from. Consumers like it when companies pay it forward, and if Facebook keeps up its generous nature people will like it more.

Just look at the charitable history of Google. It went public in 2004 and since then has been a steady contributor to a variety of non-profit organisations. Google has used its enormous growth as catalyst for good. Facebook should learn from the company that started out as a search engine and stay charitable.

9. Bring in better controls for business use
Facebook is a great platform for personal use, but what happens during the week when so many of its users clock in during work time? Other than basic marketing, there is little business application for Facebook.

In fact, many companies see Facebook as bad for business, distracting employees from their jobs and consuming valuable network bandwidth. It is becoming increasingly common to see IT administrators ban or severely limit access to Facebook during work hours in order to salvage a bit of productivity from staff.

If the company wants to be taken seriously in the enterprise, it needs to work with businesses and offer a more granular set of controls which can help to not only control user activity, but also provide the tools to make professional social networking viable on the platform.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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