Facebook’s been doing a lot of sharing lately. Today they announced with New York city’s Mayor Bloomberg and New York Senator Charles E. Schumer that the company expansion will include a new office in New York. Google’s Venice office may be outdone- this is going to be a “core part of our engineering stack,” according to Serkan Piantino, who will head the new hub. Their CTO also said they plan to hire thousands of new employees in 2012.
Facebook admitted in October last year there were “issues” with the way they handle privacy. In settling a Federal privacy case with the FTC this week, they shared publically what was a known, but unacknowledged fact: Facebook was misleading customers, illegally, about use of personal information. The Palo Alto company is now the first major Web business with audits on a regular basis to insure proper handling of user data.
Is this a game-changer, an incredible moment in the short history of the Internet Industries’ ability to self-regulate its use of customer data? They have a positive brand image. According to a study conducted by brand agency Landor, Facebook ranked #1 of all “Breakaway Brands. ” Performance was rated by successfully propelling “consumer preference and choices.” Facebook does a lot right that overshadows the way they mislead customers. The changes taking place as a result of the settlement may tame a public increasingly leery about using the Website and their third party vendors to access personal information for added value. They may also bring closure to opposites that don’t attract: custumer mistrust and an IPO raising $10 Billion on Wall Street.
Marc Zuckerberg is 27, three years shy of Steve Jobs’ age when he was pushed out of Apple, only to return as a Phoenix with few rivals. One would be hard-pressed to find a pundit claiming Zukerberg’s and Jobs’ reputation will someday be level. His post-IPO place in the history books, though, is a great uncertainty.