May 15, 2012, 12:19 PM — Well, it’s now official: Facebook is planning to offer shares to the public starting this Friday at $34 to $38 a pop. Get yours while they’re hot.
What does this mean for Facebook and your data? Everything. But what it mostly means is that Facebook will be under enormous pressure to post ever increasing revenue numbers every three months. And there is only one source of revenue for Facebook, ultimately: Your data.
As I noted last week, Abine Inc posted a cute little Val-You calculator that lets you suss out how much your personal data is worth to Facebook, depending on how often you use the network and your personal demographics. But those values are based on the revenues Facebook publicly announced last year – approximately $4 billion. When Facebook is a $40 billion company, your data could be worth almost ten times as much, depending on how many new users Facebook can add to the 900
billion million already there.
And the only way to get that much more out of your data is to find new ways to use it. It’s not rocket science.
So the first thing Facebook is doing is tweaking its privacy – err, Data Use Policy -- to give the network a scosh more operating room, kind of like loosening your belt in anticipation of eating a big meal. You can read a redlined copy of the proposed changes here [PDF].
As Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill pointed out last week, tweaks to the Data Use Policy open the door to Facebook using your profile information to serve ads in places other than Facebook. In other words, if you click “Like” on the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Facebook page, you could end up seeing ads for Extreme Cheese Explosion on sites like CNN or the Washington Post.
(Note to readers: This blog post does not constitute an endorsement of Kraft food products. Note to self: I’ve really got to stop blogging right before lunch.)
Will Facebook at some point market your information to, say, dieting companies or insurance firms that are trolling for customers with an appetite for saturated fat products? At this point nobody can say.