Welcome to Facebook – all hope abandon ye who enter here

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Is it time Facebook changed the “mission statement” on its log-in page?  Does it really do what it says, as the unofficial facebook blog states?

In September 2006, founder Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook’s mission statement was “to help people understand their world.”

However a recent BBC Money Programme showed he now sees Facebook as a powerful advertising tool.  It primary stakeholder group then is not “you” but advertisers who are interested in marketing or otherwise accessing your connections.  That is your social network is for sale.

If a mission statement is “a brief statement of the purpose of an organisation”, it gives direction to those, including the PR team, determining strategies and plans within the organisation.  From the external perspective, it should similarly clarify organisational aims.  The current statement portrays a benign purpose for Facebook, that doesn’t seem to reflect the reality of the business strategy.

Although I can’t quite imagine people being so lax about their personal and professional information at Facebook if the log in page reminded users:

Facebook is a powerful advertising tool targeting you and the people around you. 

Or maybe it should adopt Dante‘s immortal words:

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye…

All hope abandon ye who enter here.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

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