It has been a tough few weeks for Facebook’s PR team and it doesn’t look like it’s getting better any time soon. Following last month’s reports that the social networking giant’s user numbers were dropping, particularly in key mature markets like the US and UK, it was forced onto the back foot to try and rubbish the claims.
Although the story of diminishing users got a lot of pick-up, there are some that bought Facebook’s line that the stats were wrong. Given how difficult it is to delete a Facebook user account (Facebook will let you suspend a user account but deletion is by no means an easy option) they may well be right. Regardless, the story permeated that numbers were dropping because it’s no longer cool to be on Facebook with your mum and dad.
Google took full advantage and announced that it was the first web company to reach a billion users, prompting Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to respond by claiming it will also hit the billion user level, just not anytime soon.
Perfect build up to Google’s latest salvo; the launch of Google+ as a direct rival to Facebook with additional features such as video chat.
It is too early to tell how the Facebook versus Goggle+ battle is going to evolve but Facebook’s complacency has given Google a real opportunity. Social video has been coming for a good few years and Facebook really should have delivered in this area far earlier. Its latest attempt to stop users moving away has been to block an exporter tool for moving ‘friends data’ to other social networking sites. This probably isn’t going to help change the impression of a company with its back to the wall.