Fishing in the Fishbowl of Facebook: A Perspective on Third Party Apps Gone Rogue

Say what you’d like about Facebook- but 10% of the world has one (a staggering statistic, especially considering that most websites only have a fraction of one percent of the world’s population or less). However, as it has spread, has it really managed to become a vacuum of the internet, one that combines all aspects of the web into one place? Not exactly. According to the New York Times, of the over 845 million users who have an account, about one-half of them are considered inactive. I am brought to think of all of the advertisers who are told this statistic and jump to buy ad space only to be disappointed by and underwhelming lack of clicks.

My inner marketer is squirming.
So, if so many people are on Facebook but not using it, then what are they doing? To put it simply, they are joining Facebook to join other sites and social networks. Take a gander at Spotify, the Holy Grail of the music world at present- with over 15 million users and a required Facebook login, it’s questionable as to how many Facebook users are only on the social networking site so they can listen to their favorite songs on Spotify. Although Spotify is also a third-party app on Facebook, it is more likely that listeners use their Facebook credentials to log into Spotify than the reverse; after all, who wants to be found on chat by their long-lost, unfortunately found childhood friend who wants to make amends with you for sticking your face in the litter box when you were five? Not I.

This is to say that as a social site, Facebook is beginning to become a social deterrent- and interestingly enough, third party apps are beginning to comply. For instance, take the many non-social apps which have claimed a following using Facebook and have moved away: the website Jingit, an up-and-coming loyalty program which allows individuals to watch short ads in exchange for money. While the site once encouraged Facebook logins and hosted itself on Facebook as a third-party app, recently it has been working to cut off all ties with Facebook, including transitioning accounts away from Facebook and onto their own system of accounts. Within the time period between the adaption of Facebook-based accounts and complete rejection of them, it had garnered a respectable following.

If other, more major sites are planning to break away from Facebook like Jingit did, expect the number of users on Facebook to readily decline; albeit, inactive users. Conversely, if websites continue to glean a following from the pool of current Facebook users, expect just the opposite to occur. Either way, this is an immense loss for Facebook, a platform of social media which is becoming just that- a platform, but for other sites to fish from their sea of users and drag some of them away.


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