Social networking giant Facebook has filed the paperwork to begin selling public shares. The long-anticipated filing is the largest Internet public offering ever. The website, with 845 million users, is expected to be valued at between $75 and $100 billion. We discuss the potential impact of the IPO on users, Silicon Valley and the financial industry.

Facebook’s IPO 2 February,2012forum

Mike Swift, staff writer for the San Jose Mercury News
Eric Goldman, associate professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law and director of the High Tech Law Institute
Dylan Tweney, executive editor of Venture Beat

  • The Facebook IPO presents a unique opportunity…it could shift the entire paradigm of how we treat publicly held companies, by issuing stock to it’s users.  What better way, to ensure the continued participation of it’s most valuable asset, than to give the users a voice in the boardroom, and a share of the company’s profitability?

    • Charleston Chu

      They should issue one share, to each user who is in, before the IPO.
      Users should demand this.

  • Guest

    Isn’t it true that many Facebook accounts are setup as group sites and not individual users? Out of 1 billion accounts, how many are actually individuals? 

  • Karen Ivy

    What makes you think people on Facebook even see ads?  I use the FireFox browser with the AdBlock Plus plugin and I don’t see ads at all.

    • Tony G. Rocco

      Does such a plugin exist for Chrome?

  • Dan in SF

    I don’t use Facebook and have no interest in it.  If ads ever come up in any of my searchs I pay them no mind.  I have never made a purchase based on ads and don’t expect to in the future.

  • Michael, san mateo

    I noticed that I receive Facebook friend invitations from people who I know actually didn’t invite me. This happened when I created a Facebook alias with a name my friends wouldn’t recognize. Suddenly friends were “inviting” me to friend them. This suggests that Facebook is pushing friendships to make itself more sticky.

  • Bob Fry

    FB has numerous minuses, but if you use it on a browser with both AdBlock and Fluff Busting Purity you’ll have a much better experience. As a previous commenter said, AdBlock blocks the ads (on all web pages BTW). FBP removes the “X is friends with Y” notes, the annoying game announcements, etc.

  • John WInsor

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned on the program is Facebook as a gaming platform. Facebook has consolidated the Flash games market and takes a 30% cut on all revenue from micro-transactions. Gaming represents a huge monetary opportunity for Facebook that should be acknowledged.

  • Katherine

    I am in my mid-20’s, so I speak for a demographic I don’t think has weighed in yet.  I want to address tree things:

    1. Personal information – I post nothing on Facebook that I wouldn’t be comfortable with the entire world seeing and knowing, so I don’t feel threatened by the changing privacy rules

    2. Virtual relationships – The primary reasons I use Facebook are to arrange meetings with people I live near, and to talk to friends who live far away.  Facebook has made it far easier for me to do both these things.

    3. Ads – I absolutely click on ads that are relevant to me; I buy things online all the time, so why wouldn’t I?  The problem is, Facebook has so far done a poor job of targeting me for ads.  They focus more on arbitrary traits like gender than on my actual interests.

  • Andrew Casden

    As a fairly heavy facebook user, I’ll gladly tell you why I use the platform so much, it’s rather simple — I love to share. I think that’s one thing that hasn’t really been mentioned in this program is Facebook’s ability to let us share and really CURATE interesting content between friends — and not just our OWN content, but interesting content from the web: videos, news, stories, music, etc.. I think there’s something profoundly appealing to humans to say “hey, I found this cool thing, let me show it to my friends” – and facebook understands that better than anyone. I’m a fan. And if that means I need to take some extra steps once in a while to protect privacy, so be it. 

  • Andy Long

    I just finished presenting a Social Media coordination package heavily featuring FB, for my advertising firm, Media Solutions, to the Fulton Avenue Association, in Sacramento; We try to focus on “becoming part of the tribe’s conversation”,  rather than utilizing “outbound” techniques (like paid ads), which don’t have the same value as interacting socially, company to customer. Stimulating content that elicits responses and “likes” is MUCH more valuable and effective than shouting from afar with paid ads.
    Thank you for the great show- what a surprise to hear this after presenting on the same topic!
    Andy Long

  • Nathan

    Facebook is just a giant data mining project where people are giving the intimate details of their lives for free under the guise of community.  What more could advertisers want?  Given the privacy policies of Facebook are virtually non-existent how can anyone trust this company to do the ethical thing?

    • Bob Fry

      Yeah, but that’s true of Google and the WWW generally. I see with young people (I’m in my 50s) that privacy is just a non-issue…they live in a village which happens to be online and global. And maybe that’s better. They can’t be embarrassed when no one cares…like gays coming out of the closet.

  • Tony G. Rocco

    Mike Swift clearly doesn’t like Facebook for some reason. Comparing FB to McDonalds was a snide and inaccurate analogy. Why wasn’t another voice recruited to be on this show?

  • Guest

    If you place a higher value on your privacy than Facebook does see:

  • It will be interesting to see if this will initiate a surge in investor interest in social media startups who leverage the FB platform.

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