Friday, May 18, 2012

Facebook and Shareholder Scrutiny

1. Facebook will continue to push its platform in the direction of what it sees as frictionless transparency—a “more open and connected world,” as its mission statement puts it. Critics will charge that this infringes users’ privacy, and so Facebook will now need to consider “potential lawsuits” during meetings.

2. Investors aren’t known for their patience, and so Facebook will need to get its mobile act together sooner rather than later.

3. At some point, Facebook’s dominance will raise antitrust concerns. To preempt or minimize such scrutiny, Facebook will need to ramp up its Washington, DC, office and associated lobbying activities.

4. If this were an ordinary company, going public would introduce dramatic change. But Facebook is different, if for no other reason than its CEO wields so much power. Indeed, in both word and deed, Mark Zuckerberg has demonstrated a Jobsian willingness to drive users in a direction he wants, critics—and perhaps now the stock market—be damned.