Yesterday, Facebook filed for an estimated $5 billion IPO, a move which sent reverberations throughout the tech industry. It’s the largest internet IPO on record, according to Bloomberg — fellow futuristic megacorporation Google had a relatively measly $1.67 IPO back in 2004 — and analysts are already debating whether that price is wildly overrated or cautiously underrated. But how will these new developments change Facebook for you? As the Western World’s defining social network, Facebook already has to please a constituency of 845 million users. How will that mission change when the company also has to appease shareholders and Wall Street vultures?
“With Facebook being private, Mark Zuckerberg could make changes at any point, and if there was backlash it didn’t matter,” says Shira Lazar, cofounder and host of What’s Trending. “Now that it’s public, there’s a sense of responsibility. If things go wrong or if there is backlash, then he will be held accountable.” In the past, Facebook’s changes have always been
greeted with a cycle of denial-anger-acceptance — recall all the grousing about the News Feed or the recent rumblings about the Timeline redesign. But as The Wall Street Journal notes, Facebook’s rate of growth will inevitably slow down, making major redesigns and shifts both more necessary and more potentially off-putting to users.
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