A recent posting by Beppe Grillo shows his unique insight into the issue of Facebook.
Goldman Sachs has invested 375 million dollars in Facebook while valuing it at 50 billion dollars. To each one of the 500 million Facebook users the value of 100 dollars has been attributed. Without members, Facebook would be worth zero. For example if me and my son were to cancel our profiles, the value of Facebook would immediately fall by 200 dollars. The capital is in the users, in their content and their relationship network and not in the platform itself, but Facebook is a closed world within the universe of the internet, anyone who enters can no longer exit. "Abandon hope ye who enter here." If in the future, other companies were to offer a social network with better services, the Facebook user should in theory be able to migrate his own content without asking permission from Mark Zuckerberg. In reality today he cannot do that. The financial value of Facebook depends on the billions of personal bits of information that have been inserted there. Who is the owner of this data, of the “digital identity”? Facebook or the user? It should be the user, the identity is his, the photos, the videos, the text are fruit of his labour, they are “him”, they are “her”. However, this information is usable only within Facebook. Anyone who registers on another social network has to put in all the stuff again. Every “digital identity” is basically the property of Facebook or of the social network where it has been entered. For some time there has been research into a standard for a “universal digital identity” to be able to have access to every social network where contents and relationships remain the property of the user. Our “digital identity” is always more important for our social relationships, but it can be deleted at any time by Facebook and we would be cancelled too. Facebook should distribute the money received from Goldman Sachs to its users who are working at a piece rate and for free by supplying information that can be used for marketing activity. With these thoughts up front, if the de facto monopoly by Facebook were to end, the capital from Goldman Sachs would have created the umpteenth Internet bubble. And who is it that pays back money in the bubbles? The small scale shareholders or the big banks? Certainly not Goldman Sachs who will be able to guide the launch of Facebook on the stock exchange in 2012 with enormous returns. I could be making a mistake, but just to be safe, I won’t be buying Facebook shares.