Facebook is coming out with an IPO for $5 billion.
Out of the total Monthly Active Users (MAU) of 845 million (as of Dec 31, 2011), 46 million (5%) are from India, 161 million (19%) are from the US, and 37 million (4.3%) are from Brazil.
Now, India and Indians promise to be a rapidly growing market (already grown by 132% in 2011) for Facebook. India and the other developing countries will remain its focus countries.
“continue to focus on growing our user base across all geographies, including relatively less-penetrated, large markets such as Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.”
That is awesome for Indians! Right?
But is it really?
Think about it for a moment.
Facebook is used by the US Intelligence agencies to listen to chatter in the internet world. Which means that the Intelligence services in the US have an access not available to any other to spy on the entire populations of the target countries. So, if the Americans are perturbed that their privacy is under Government threat, well Indians (and Brazilians) should be very wary indeed!
And another thing. The wealth generated by Facebook – in sales/ads etc – is generated because of the eyeballs and the Active User accounts created by it, where the developing world crowd is a great engine. But does anyone get to share the wealth of Facebook owners?
It is like a company runs a factory by employing FREE labor in India and then sells its goods to the same population and takes the money home. Doesn’t pay anything!!
Colonial Capitalism has taken a new form, although it doesn’t seem like it. 🙂