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The Facebook Doctrine: Gaming And The Future
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The Facebook Doctrine: Gaming And The Future

July 10, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 8 of 8

We are sitting in Facebook's offices in Palo Alto and Silicon Valley, and you're friends are probably highly connected people. I mean, I watched the election results in November at a Google employee's house with a Twitter feed on the screen at the same time. But not everybody has that set of friends. Are people using Facebook being this engaged with that connected experience across the board, or is it filtering in?

GD: It is. It's across the broad. We have over 200 million users. This is a huge audience here and growing rapidly. About 70 percent of our userbase is international at this point. It's global. It's not just Silicon Valley.

I know it's not just Silicon Valley. But is everyone as connected? Does your general audience use it, or do you have core, heavy users? How do you perceive that?

GD: That's a tricky question because there are lots of pieces to that. What we see is people are very engaged across the board. There's a virtuous cycle in that as people share more, other people share back. You'll tend to it yourself. It's like there are social patterns that occur, so if you start posting links to interesting articles, you find your friends doing the same thing. Suddenly, my social graph becomes a way to discover interesting articles, and they go to the newsstand less.

And so we see that in every kind of category. Like photo sharing. We're now the number one by far photo-sharing site in the world. Game playing, if we're not there already, we're getting there. So, everything that people start to do socially just amplifies and grows like wildfire.

You envision a world where every piece of media consumption or experience can be socialized via Facebook in some way. Do you think the volume of updates at some point will actually outpace our attention for them? That it could become spammy?

GD: Well, one of the great things of the social graph is it's a filter on all of our experiences. What you're seeing is that as you're looking at your Facebook messages, there's no spam in there. It's all from people you know, and they're meaningful messages. Whereas I look at my email list, and most of it spam now. So, the social graph is an incredible filter on the world. I think that it naturally reduces spam. It increases the kind of signal to noise out there in the world. I think that's one part to this.

The second part is that it seems like our appetite for information just continues to grow. Our feed is real time, and there's more and more consumption and creation since it became real time. You know, the amount of information in the world is just going to continue to grow, and I think we'll get some pointers on how we filter that information. And I think providing a real time place, forum, and then having my social graph filter it is the right model going forward. I haven't seen a better model yet.

I guess the last thing I want to touch on is the stability of the platform. As we all know, as users of Facebook, Facebook itself tends to evolve rapidly. When developers are working with it, what guarantee do they have that their apps are safe from being evolved out of the system? Have you reached a point where things are stable and developers can approach it knowing what they're getting into?

GD: I think one of the great things about Facebook is we're constantly evolving it. It continually gets better and better and better, and our audience continues to grow and grow and grow. We think very carefully and very deliberately about the changes we're making. They're all designed to increase our userbase and increase engagement. And that benefits everybody.

You know, you look at the traditional game consoles that are pretty static. This generation is great because now you can get a system update. Remember before that? You couldn't. And the ability to make changes to the platform and evolve the platform is very, very powerful because we can get feedback form our users, from our developers, and incorporate that into the evolution of the platform. We continually look at what's working and what's not, and chart a course for success.

The platform itself is very stable. People have built successful applications and successful business on it. But it will continue to evolve, and there's still a long way to yet. We're just at the beginning of mapping out a social graph and building a technology and service that everybody in the world is happy to use.

Obviously, Facebook is primarily successful in certain territories. Other social networks have bigger success in other territories. Is that a gap that you see bridging, or is that something you see solidifying?

GD: So, globally, by far, we're the largest social network and growing the fastest.

Specifically, let's say, China, you know, is a place where Tencent has a huge presence or whatever. Do you see that as a place you can go?

GD: Why, absolutely. One of the things we're seeing globally is that because Facebook is global, that makes it a much more compelling social network in a particular country because people want to connect with everybody they know. There are certain territories where there are local networks.

Yeah, I'm on Mixi in Japan. I have some Japanese friends that have come onto Facebook, but they tend to be really internationalized people. Actually, I don't touch Mixi anymore. At some point, I felt like I had to start a Mixi account to stay in touch with people in Japan, but I guess it might be changing.

GD: So, what we see in some countries already is that Facebook rapidly overtakes them because of this global aspect. The second is what we see is that people sign up for the local network and Facebook, and over time, we can overtake the local network.

I mean, we've never believed that we will be the only social graph out there. We believe there are different mappings of the social graph. Our goal is to be the best mapping and to really focus on the social graph as a way to help people connect and share. And that's out number one focus and will continue to be for a long time. That's a universal desire. And over time, we'll continue our growth and become the best social graph out there.

Article Start Previous Page 8 of 8

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