Within a few years, Facebook has grown from a locked down college experiment to a global internet behemoth. Now with over 901 million active users, there is no doubt that it is a massive part of a lot of the worlds online lives. But exactly how big is Facebook’s grip on the Internet?
Zyxt Labs, a product/engineering lab based in Seattle, Washington recently released data suggesting that over 22% of the web now contain some sort of link back to facebook.com. The data stems from a massive audit conducted on over 1.3 billion URLs in 2012.
It is only a sample of the almost endless number URLs that currently exists on the world wide web, but it does highlight not only a trend of the Internet becoming increasingly social, but also the changing landscape of how content is discovered online.
The data suggests that most of the interactions come via websites using features such as the Facebook ‘like’ button (15.69%), share button (15.23%) and like box plugin (4.60%), perhaps the most interesting is the usage of the FBML – otherwise known as the Facebook Open Graph (13.45%).
So what is the Facebook Open Graph?
FBML is a mark-up language created specifically for Facebook applications that allows developers to integrate Facebook directly into a website. However, as of June 6th 2012, FBML was depreciated by Facebook, essentially rendering FBML functionality in websites obsolete. The high percentage also indicates a possible over reliance on platforms like Facebook by websites and business.
While integrating your site to social platforms and making it as socially available as possible is great for sharing and promoting content it also takes from you a lot of control of your web presence. If some sort of functionality or UX of your site is dependent on a third party – especially one who changes its policies as frequently as Facebook does – it does leave your site vulnerable to being broken at the whim of Mark Zuckerberg.
There is no doubt the Internet is morphing into a more connected and social ecosystem than it previously has been, and businesses and websites need to be on top of this functionality or run the risk of becoming redundant. But businesses also need to ensure that they don’t sell their souls to large platforms chasing that little blue thumbs up button.