The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Category: Facebook

Most Facebook users get more from it than they put in, study says


The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on Friday, providing insights into the company that you won't find in its IPO filing.

Rather than focusing on the company's financials, the report "Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give" sheds light on how Facebook's 845 million users engage with Facebook and what they get out of it.

The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror social interactions in the real world.

For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other people's status updates than men.

"There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than men," said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the report. "This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems to be true of the online world as well."

The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are more likely to receive them. That's something else we see in the real world -- especially in bars.

The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.

Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked the "like" button next to a friend's content an average of 14 times but had his or her own content 'liked' an average of 20 times.

Why the imbalance?

"There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for feeding everyone extra stuff," Hampton said. "You might go on Facebook and post something and have time to click 'like' on one thing you see in your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of 'likes' on your news feed. That's because of this very active group."

He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others click the 'like' button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all those ways.

I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active people, whom he calls Facebook "power users." Are they unstoppably social? Unemployed? Lonely?

"It could be people who are always active -- whatever they are doing in their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one month we observed them they are active and another month a different group of people would rise up," he said. "It could be that there is something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on Facebook."


Facebook's IPO filing, by the numbers

Vizio's 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo: A worker at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Facebook's IPO filing, by the numbers

Facebook's Menlo Park HQ

Facebook's IPO filing on Wednesday offers investors, bankers, analysts, journalists and anyone willing to read the massive S-1 document a deeper look at the business and financial side of the world's largest social network than we've ever had before.

Our team of tech and business reporters has been digging into the filing, reporting on the Menlo Park, Calif., company's $3.7-billion revenue, rivalries with Twitter and Google+, perspective on China, social mission and hacker ethos, Zynga accounting for 12% of Facebook's revenue, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's pay cut from $600,000 in 2012 to $1 in 2013 and even what the IPO could mean for the Winklevoss twins.

But that wasn't all the S-1 had to say. Here are some other highlights from Facebook's IPO filing before the company actually goes public in May:

Users: Facebook has an average of 845 million monthly active users, 483 million of whom log into the social network daily.

Workforce: At the end of 2011, Facebook had 3,200 full-time employees, up 50% from 2,127 employees 2010. In 2009, the company had 1,218 employees.

Worldwide: Facebook's plan, unsurprisingly, is to continue to grow by gaining more users in countries around the world. But the company also said in its S-1 that it plans to grow its workforce worldwide as well. "We plan to continue the international expansion of our business operations and the translation of our products," Facebook said. Currently, Facebook is offered in more than 70 different languages, and the company has data centers in more than 20 different countries.

Popularity: Facebook said that about 60% of the online population in the U.S. and U.K. is registered on the social network. But Facebook is more popular in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela, where the company has "penetration rates of greater than 80% of Internet users."

There are more than 2 billion Internet users worldwide and Facebook said its goal is to connect all of them through its social network.

"In countries such as Brazil, Germany, and India we estimate that we have penetration rates of approximately 20-30%; in countries such as Japan, Russia, and South Korea we estimate that we have penetration rates of less than 15%; and in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near 0% penetration," the filing said.

Money in the bank: Facebook said that it had $1.5 billion at its disposal in a mix of "cash and cash equivalents" as of Dec. 31, as well as $2.3 billion in "marketable securities." In 2010, Facebook had $1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and no marketable securities. Total assets on hand amounted to $6.6 billion in 2011, while Facebook had a total of $1.4 billion in liabilities.

R&D: Facebook's research and development efforts have seen massive growth over the last few years. In 2011, the company spent $388 million, or about 10.5% of its revenue, on R&D. In 2010, Facebook spent less than half that amount, with $144 million going toward R&D. In 2009, the company spend $87 million on R&D, up from $47 million in 2008 and $81 million in 2007.

Patents: Faceook said a major factor in whether or not the company will be able to maintain the huge success it's had thus far will ride on its ability to "protect our core technology and intellectual property."

To do that, Facebook will "rely on a combination of patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, including know-how, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements with third parties, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other contractual rights." The social media giant ended 2011 with 56 patents and 503 patent applications filed in the U.S., along with 33 corresponding patents and 149 patent applications filed in foreign countries.


Facebook's S-1 already has a (fake) Twitter account

Facebook IPO: Winklevoss twins could reap big payday

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg's salary falling to $1 in 2013

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Photo: Visitors pose in front of a sign at the entrance of Facebook's new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Wednesday. Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP/Getty Images

Facebook IPO: Winklevoss twins could reap big payday


Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss could have a lot to gain when Facebook begins selling its stock to the public: as much as $300 million.

The Menlo Park, Calif., social networking giant filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, the first step to an initial public offering that could raise as much as $10 billion and value the company at $100 billion.

The Winklevosses rose to pop-culture fame claiming that they -- not Mark Zuckerberg -- invented Facebook. And they wanted to risk their windfall to prove it.

But their case got tossed, and now they may be all the richer for it.

The ambitious young Olympic rowers made famous in the Oscar-winning "The Social Network" contested an out-of-court settlement they reached with Facebook, saying they were duped into accepting less than they should have.

In the end, they took their settlement in stock, and now, even at the low end of a Facebook valuation, that stock would be worth $225 million.

Tyler Winklevoss declined to comment. But on Twitter, Cameron Winklevoss wrote: "We r excited 4the #FacebookIPO + wish the company + all involved the very best,an amazing accomplishment!"


Legal fight over Facebook continues

Judge dismisses Winklevoss case against Facebook

Winklevoss twins press Facebook case in Boston federal court after dropping Supreme Court appeal

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Tyler Winklevoss, left, and his brother Cameron Winklevoss. Photo credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Facebook says Paul Ceglia should be ordered to pay attorney fees


Facebook fired back at Paul Ceglia, the New York man who claims he's entitled to half of Mark Zuckerberg's multibillion-dollar stake in the social networking giant, saying he should pay the legal fees its lawyers are requesting.

In papers filed in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y., Facebook said its attorneys had "substantially discounted" and were asking for an amount "far less than what defendants actually paid." 

Ceglia, fined last month for failing to turn over evidence in his case against Facebook, is protesting the "stratospheric" legal fees from Facebook's lawyers.

Ceglia said he should not have to pay as much as $716 an hour to Facebook's highest-billing partner for a "garden variety" contract case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said last month that Ceglia must reimburse Facebook for legal fees it incurred in trying to get him to comply with a court order in the partnership dispute.

Ceglia's lawyer, Dean Boland, said in court papers that the fees are unjustified.

Ceglia merited a mention in Facebook's registration statement filed Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook filed papers to sell its stock to the public and will likely begin trading in May.

"We continue to believe that Mr. Ceglia is attempting to perpetrate a fraud,” the filing said.


Paul Ceglia seeks Mark Zuckerberg sanctions

Federal judge orders Paul Ceglia to pay fine in Facebook case

Facebook charging 'stratospheric' attorney fees, Paul Ceglia says

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Photo: The Facebook sign outside the company's new campus in Menlo Park, Calif. Credit: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg's salary falling to $1 in 2013


With Facebook's S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for what is set to be a blockbuster IPO worth at least $5 billion in May, Mark Zuckerberg is now firmly sitting among Silicon Valley's top chief executives, if he wasn't already.

And, probably with that in mind, Zuckerberg is falling in line with a tradition among some of the valley's top CEOs: a $1 annual salary.

Zuckerberg received a $500,000 salary in 2011 and he'll get a $100,000 raise to $600,000 this year, Facebook's S-1 filing said. Zuckerberg also received a $220,500 bonus in the first half of 2011, the filing said.

"In the first quarter of 2012, our compensation committee discussed and approved a request by our CEO to reduce his base salary to $1 per year, effective Jan. 1, 2013," the document said.

Zuckerberg asked for the dramatic salary cut in the first quarter of 2012, according to the S-1, which would mean he made the request sometime in January, given that the document was filed Feb. 1.

The pay cut falls in line with the $1 annual salary taken by Steve Jobs from 1997 until his death last year as Apple's chief executive, and the $1 annual salaries taken by Google's former and current CEOs, Eric Schmidt and Larry Page; Larry Ellison at Oracle; and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard.

But make no mistake, the 27-year-old Zuckerberg is being compensated for his leadership of the world's largest social network in many other ways -- not the least of which is Zuckerberg's 28% stake in Facebook, a company valued at as much as $100 billion.

Facebook, for example, has paid for a home security system and "security personnel" for Zuckerberg, the S-1 said.

"Because of the high visibility of our company we have implemented a 'comprehensive security program' for Mr. Zuckerberg to address safety concerns resulting from his position as our founder, chairman and CEO," the filing said. "We require these security measures for the company's benefit because of the importance of Mr. Zuckerberg to Facebook, and we believe that the costs of this comprehensive security program are appropriate and necessary. We paid for the initial procurement, installation and maintenance of security measures for Mr. Zuckerberg's personal residence, and we pay for the annual costs of security personnel, neither of which constitutes taxable income to Mr. Zuckerberg."

The company also "has also authorized our CEO and COO to use private aircraft for business purposes," the S-1 said. "This practice maximizes such executives' productive time and ensures their quick availability. In addition, Mr. Zuckerberg may use private aircraft for personal purposes in connection with his comprehensive security program. On certain occasions, Mr. Zuckerberg may be accompanied by family members or others when using private aircraft.

"For flights involving passengers flying for personal purposes, the aggregate incremental cost of such personal usage is reported as other compensation to Mr. Zuckerberg. The reported aggregate incremental cost is based on costs provided by the applicable charter company and includes passenger fees, fuel, crew and catering costs. The incremental cost attributable to Mr. Zuckerberg's use of private aircraft in 2011 is disclosed in the 'All Other Compensation' column in '—2011 Summary Compensation Table.'"

Zuckerberg's "Other Compensation" in 2011 totaled $783,529, the filing said, with about $692,679 going "to personal use of aircraft chartered in connection with his comprehensive security program and on which family and friends flew during 2011." The remaining $90,850 was for "costs related to estate and financial planning during 2011," the filing said.


Facebook files for IPO

Mark Zuckerberg: Know Facebook's social mission before investing

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg says 'Stay focused & keep shipping'

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chief executive, speaks at the company's F8 developers conference in San Francisco in September 2011. Credit: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Facebook's S-1 already has a (fake) Twitter account

Facebook's S-1's Twitter feed wasn't born yesterday -- it was born today

Just moments after Facebook filed its long awaited S-1 on Wednesday afternoon, the S-1 itself got its own Twitter feed.

"Hey, I'm new here," it began, simply enough. And shortly thereafter, it tweeted, "Hey! Anything interesting happen today? LOL!!!"

No clever names for this silly feed -- just the straightforward @FacebooksS1. It's profile says it was born on February 1, 2012, and lists its location as Menlo Park, CA.

Can't argue with that!

Facebook's S-1's self-assigned task seems to be responding to any online remarks it can find about itself, which in the initial crunch immediately following the filing came mostly from the tech media.

When Alexia Totsis of TechCrunch tweeted "This Facebook S-1 is like an animal carcass and us bloggers are like a pack of rabid wolves," Facebook's S-1 responded: "Animal carcass?! WTH? I work out."

And when New York Times tech reporter Jenna Worthman tweeted, "curious: Facebook is alternately capitalized and written in lower-case throughout the filing." Facebook's S-1 shot back: "I like to keep it edgy."

Of course it took just about, oh, a couple of hours or so, for everything to start getting meta.

Just before 5 p.m. Pacific time, Josie Mora (@uncouthgormand) tweeted that she would be printing the Facebook SEC S-1 report, which she expected would be a fascinating read. Her friend @KrisDub wanted to know if Facebook's S-1 would be cool with her looking at its private parts.

Facebook's S-1 didn't miss a beat. "Whoa, ladies," it tweeted. "This is a G-Rated filing here. Except for the value of Zuck's shares. That's just obscene."


Facebook files for IPO

Facebook IPO: from a dorm room, to 800 million users, to an S-1

Mark Zuckerberg: Know Facebook's social mission before investing

-- Deborah Netburn

Image: A screen grab of Facebook S-1's twitter feed.

Facebook's IPO will put Zuckerberg's 'open, connected' mantra to the test

Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook's F8 developer conference in 2011

Almost exactly eight years ago today, on the first Wednesday of February 2004, Mark Zuckerberg famously launched out of his Harvard dorm room.

And now on the first Wednesday of February 2012, the company he built has filed papers for what's expected to be the largest initial public offering ever to come out of Silicon Valley, not to mention one of the largest in U.S. history.

But from dorm room to IPO, Zuckerberg says the vision for his social networking site has remained the same. The goal with the company that has made him billions, he says, has never been about making money, but rather to make the world more "open" and "connected" -- two words he has been known to repeat, like a sort of mantra.

On Facebook's 6th anniversary in 2010, when the networking site had less than half of the 845 million monthly users the company claimed in Wednesday's IPO filing, Zuckerberg  wrote a letter to Facebook users explaining the company's mission: "Facebook began six years ago today as a product that my roommates and I built to help people around us connect easily, share information and understand one another better," he wrote, "...and thanks to you we've made great progress over the last year towards making the world more open and connected."

In a letter to investors included in Facebook's IPO filing, Zuckerberg drilled down on that theme, starting with the first line of the letter:

"Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected," he writes.

Of course, some are concerned about the lack of privacy in the "open" and "connected" world of the future that Zuckerberg has conceived, and helped create -- especially as Facebook will likely face pressure from investors and Wall Street analysts to turn its biggest asset -- personal information about its hundreds of millions of users -- into bigger and bigger profits.


Facebook files for IPO

Wall Street clicks 'like' on Facebook IPO

Facebook says ticker symbol will be FB, annual revenue $3.7 billion

--Deborah Netburn

Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote during the Facebook f8 Developer Conference in September of 2011. Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino /AFP

Facebook IPO draws an array of user reaction in status updates


No one knows Facebook better than Facebook.

Seconds after the company’s filing for a huge initial public stock offering was announced Wednesday, Facebook users flooded the social network with comments.

“Based on my news feeds, you would think Zuck just took over the world. Oh, Facebook,” said Amanda Coolong, producer of a technology news site.

“OOO What I could give to be able to get in on this,” wrote Alexander Henry Sargent, expressing the oft-repeated hope that shares would be available to the common user.

Other loyal Facebook users simply hoped that they could share in some way in the money that will be made in the buying and selling of the company’s stock.

“To Mark Zuckerberg, founder of this very home called Facebook,” wrote Steve Baxley. “Kudos upon your launch of the IPO. ‘Twould be really fun to give all us Facebookers a little piece of that!”

Freelance writer Michael Shinzaki said that if he could get in on the IPO, he’d wipe out one of the social network’s newest and most disparaged features.

“I think I’m gonna buy 2.5 billion,” he said, “then make an executive decision to revoke the Timelines.”

Some were skeptical of the riches people expected the IPO to generate.

“The amount of value that a company without tangible goods doing what it does (nothing) is amazing really,” wrote Justin Martens. “In the blink of an eye it could be gone.”

Others worried that the IPO might mean fundamental changes for Facebook.

“Well, Facebook is all about the money now,” said a user identified as Scootergoods. “So I would say paying for your membership will happen real soon.”

At least one user saw a moneymaking possibility beyond the stock offering. Guy Blume had a message for any insider about to get rich off the IPO.

“Menlo Park and surrounding towns may see a real boon to local business especially real estate,” Blume wrote. “Looking to buy a home in Silicon Valley? Let me know if I can help.”


Facebook got 12% of its revenue from Zynga

Facebook files finally for initial public stock offering

Mark Zuckerberg: Know Facebook's social mission before investing

-- Matt Stevens

Photo: The Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif., now occupies the former Sun Microsystems buildings. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg says 'Stay focused & keep shipping'

Mark Zuckerberg's desk

Your company just filed papers to sell its stock to the public in what may be the biggest Internet IPO ever that will make you one of the richest people in the world.

So what are you going to do?

Here's Mark Zuckerberg's answer. This is a photo of his desk at Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters that he posted Wednesday on his Facebook page.


Facebook files for IPO

Facebook IPO: from a dorm room, to 800 million users, to an S-1

Mark Zuckerberg: Know Facebook's social mission before investing

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg's desk at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters. Photo credit: Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook IPO: from a dorm room, to 800 million users, to an S-1

Mark Zuckerberg in 2005

In eight years, Facebook has gone from the creation of a couple of college kids in a Harvard dorm room, to Silicon Valley golden child, to filing for one of the largest IPOs the U.S. has ever seen.

Although Facebook is in the midst of a milestone day Wednesday, there have been many other important moments in the relatively young life of what has grown into the mostly widely used social network in the world.

Here is a rundown of key moments in Facebook's history, as compiled by the Associated Press:

February 2004: Mark Zuckerberg starts Facebook as a sophomore at Harvard University.

March 2004: Facebook begins expansion to other colleges and universities.

June 2004: Facebook moves headquarters to Palo Alto.

September 2004: Facebook introduces the Wall, which allows users to write personal musings and other tidbits on profile pages. A lawsuit is filed against Facebook alleging that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from a company co-founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and a third person at Harvard.

September 2005: Facebook expands to include high schools.

May 2006: Facebook introduces work networks, allowing people with a corporate email address to join.

September 2006: Facebook begins letting anyone over 13 join. It also introduces News Feed, which collects friends' Wall posts in one place. Although that led to complaints about privacy, News Feed became one of Facebook's most popular features.

May 2007: Facebook launches Platform, a system for letting outside programmers develop tools for sharing photos, taking quizzes and playing games. The system creates a Facebook economy and allows companies such as game maker Zynga Inc. to thrive.

October 2007: Facebook agrees to sell a 1.6% stake to Microsoft for $240 million and forges an advertising partnership.

November 2007: Facebook unveils its Beacon program, a feature that broadcasts users' activities on dozens of outside sites. Yet another privacy backlash led Facebook to give users more control over Beacon, before Facebook ultimately scrapped it as part of a legal settlement.

March 2008: Facebook hires Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer, snatching the savvy, high-profile executive from Google Inc.

April 2008: Facebook Chat is introduced.

February 2009: Facebook introduces "Like," enabling users to endorse other users' posts.

June 2009: Facebook surpasses News Corp.'s Myspace as the leading online social network in the U.S.

August 2010: Facebook launches location feature, enabling users to share where they are with their friends and strangers.

October 2010: Release of "The Social Network," a movie about Zuckerberg and the legal battles over Facebook's founding. It gets eight Academy Award nominations and wins three.

June 2011: Google launches rival social network called Google+. The Winklevoss twins end their legal battle over the idea behind Facebook. They had settled with Facebook for $65 million in 2008, but later sought more money.

September 2011: Facebook introduces Timeline, a new version of the profile page. It shows highlights from a user's entire Facebook life rather than recent posts.

November 2011: Facebook agrees to settle federal charges that it violated users' privacy by getting people to share more information than they agreed to when they signed up. As part of a settlement, Facebook will allow independent auditors to review its privacy practices for two years. It also agrees to get approval from users before changing how the company handles their data.

December 2011: Facebook completes its move to Menlo Park, Calif. Its address is 1 Hacker Way.

January 2012: Facebook begins making Timeline mandatory.

February 2012: Facebook files for an initial public offering of stock.


Facebook files for IPO

Mark Zuckerberg: Know Facebook's social mission before investing

Facebook cites Google+, Twitter among rivals, says growth will slow

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Photo: In a Jan. 6, 2005 photo, Mark Zuckerberg, right, and friends work on, an early version of the world's largest social network in a rented home in Los Altos, Calif. Now called simply Facebook, the website is the world's largest social network. Zuckerberg launched the site in his Harvard dorm room in 2004. Credit: Robert Durell/Los Angeles Times


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