[Interview] Facebook - the Social Network

By Nash David Published Date
01 - Mar - 2012
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2012
[Interview] Facebook – the Social Network

Facebook has been in the news a lot in the recent past. In fact, it has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years and investors have evaluated it at close to $100 billion, as it goes public. We asked the Facebook team a few queries that we had. Here are their responses.

A lot is being spoken about Facebook and Privacy. What are the measures undertaken by Facebook, to ensure that user privacy, and personal data is safeguarded under all circumstances. Recently, private pictures belonging to Mark Zuckerberg were hacked into. Could you elaborate on the vulnerability exploited and what were the measures undertaken to ensure protection?

Security of our site is a top priority for Facebook, and we devote significant resources to helping people protect their accounts and information. We have built, and are constantly improving upon, numerous systems, such as our Complex Automated Systems to protect the site and keep people safe. We have a team dedicated to monitoring the site for vulnerabilities and defending against any threats. We also have a Security on Facebook Page that offers tips about how to keep your account secure and protect yourself on the internet, and it also highlights announcements around security on the site.

Facebook is rapidly growing. Could you share details with us as to how rapid this growth is and what are the registered number of users?

More than 800 million people around the world visit the site on a monthly basis, including over 25 million people in India.

With such a complex structure, and the move to a timeline structure, tagging every event in time, there would understandably be a heavy load on the database. How do you optimize server loads?

To store all the information on the site, we have data centers that house servers that we developed ourselves. Our servers provide maximum computing power, efficiency and minimum cost. As a part of the Open Compute Project that we announced early last year, our server and data center specifications are available to the public so that others can take advantage of the technology. To learn more about the Open Computer Project, visit http://opencompute.org 

How important is gaming for Facebook to boost growth? Do you see gaming as being the thrust going forward or do you see more advertising opportunities? What is Facebook's take?

Games are one of the many different types of applications that people enjoy on Facebook, and we continue to work with many game developers from around the world. With more than 500 million people using an app on Facebook or experiencing Facebook platform on other websites every month, and with the launch of new timeline applications, there's opportunity for developers and entrepreneurs to create new categories of lifestyle apps that let people express themselves on their timeline. 

What about mobile platforms? What are the trends in the mobile space for Facebook?

With more than 350 million people around the world accessing Facebook from their mobile devices, and in countries like India where many often access the internet from their phones, we work hard to provide a great Facebook experience from whatever mobile device people choose to access Facebook. One of the things we launched last year was our Facebook for Every Phone app, which offers a fast and comprehensive Facebook mobile experience on over 2,500 different Java-enabled phones. This app not only includes Facebook's most popular features, such as News Feed, Inbox, and Photos, but also enables you to upload photos and find friends from your phone's contacts.

What was the design philosophy behind the timeline way of shaping profiles? What are the implications on the underlying architecture?

We wanted to give people even more ways to express who they are and what they like - through a new cover photo and timeline view.
Timeline lets you share the other moments of your life, the other experiences that make up who you are - the music you listen to, the recipes you make for dinner, the news articles you read while you drink your coffee every morning - using applications.
You'll also have an easier way to control how you tell your story. before, things you posted a few weeks or months ago used to fall off your profile out of view. you could click back to see previous posts, but there wasn't an easy way to see all of your activity. now, with your activity log that only you can see, you'll be able to see every time you've interacted on the site, like posting comments or photos all the way back to when you joined facebook. there, you can pick and choose what shows up on your timeline and how you present yourself whenever you want.
Also, some of our resources for developers are available at Developer and Developer Support pages where developers can use Technical Q&A to get answers or join the Facebook Developers Group.
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