Just a few hours ago Facebook announced that it has opened up its network to everyone (official blog post). This means that anyone can now join Facebook — like any other social network — without the need to have their workplace, high school, or college to be supported by the system. This puts Facebook directly into competition with MySpace a makes it a complete social network.
What I find interesting is that they’ve learnt from the past and stress a couple things in the blog post. First, the fact that while the network is open, the privacy, closeness and seclusion of the existing users isn’t. This means that the network structure will still remain the same, and only friends and people in your network can see your profile. The only thing that has changed is that members don’t need to be associated with a work place or college to join (and if they are, they still need a valid e-mail address from the place), but can join as regional members. Secondly, as they state in the footer they’re expecting a backlash to arrive from this decision — Facebook groups and all — like almost every announcement they’ve made in the past has had.
Facebook is currently the 2nd most popular social network, after MySpace, and so far their usership has shown no hint of this – MySpace is somewhere around 115 million where as Facebook is at a tiny 9 million. Obviously, Facebook’s audience is a much more committed one and shares a closer correlation as per the age group, something great for the advertisers. This is about to change. It’d be interesting to find out how long it will take for it to majorly have an effect, though.
Facebook was recently also rumored to be in the talks with Yahoo! for a $1 billion acquisition and this announcement no doubt seems to lead in to that: after all, Yahoo! wouldn’t want to pay a billion dollars for something only 9 million people use. So, the real question is, how majorly will this decision affect their stance and with the MySpace-dominated space, will that change anything?
[tags]Social Networks, Facebook[/tags]