What Happens When Facebook BECOMES the Internet?

Is the battle for market share of the Internet a zero-sum game? Who will be the biggest winners and losers if and when Facebook becomes the de facto operating system of the Web?

What Happens When Facebook BECOMES the Internet?

What's the Big Idea?


In terms of all the time that is spent globally on the Internet, Facebook currently commands 12 percent market share. When might Facebook breach the 50 percent mark and what would that mean?

According to Scott Galloway, professor at NYU's Stern School of Business and an expert on digital strategy, total Facebook dominance could happen in the next 18 to 24 months. At that point, Galloway says, "Facebook becomes the Internet, and the Internet is just the underlying platform that powers it."

This is what it would take for Facebook to get there: let's say the company continues to grow at the current rate, and doubles its users to 1.5 billion in the next 18 to 24 months. Then imagine Facebook is able to continue to innovate around product development, and the per capita consumption of the amount of time we spend on Facebook doubles as well.

Then all of a sudden, the Internet, the greatest technological innovation "since Guttenberg’s printing press" has been "effectively co-opted" by a single a private company. In other words, Facebook will be the de facto operating system of the Internet. "We’ve never had that before," Galloway says.

What's the Significance?

"People tend to think of new technologies as being complementary to everything, and that’s just not the case," says Galloway. In fact, the battle for Internet market share has become "a bit of a zero sum game" that will feature "a lot of big winners and a lot of big losers."  

Consider, for instance, a company like Zynga, a gaming company that Galloway describes as "one of those remora fish around Facebook that are going to grow much faster than the rest of the ecosystem." In other words, Zynga has used Facebook’s popularity to drive shareholder growth, "and that’s a company likely worth billions, if not tens of billions almost within a fairly short period of time," says Galloway.

On the other hand, Galloway warns about those companies that are still dependent upon a traditional, "desktop-based, client-based computing model that could suffer hugely."

If Galloway's argument pans out, it is hard to understate just how much the success of one company will result in "a dramatic reshuffling of the deck, faster than we’ve ever seen before." As we see the Internet mature as an industry, and Facebook increase its dominance, every day it gets more difficult and expensive to drive traffic to your site. To succeed, you're going to have to become really good at answering this question:

What are we doing that’s really remarkable that would inspire people to share?  

According to Galloway, that is the equivalent of people tearing out a page in a magazine and showing it to all their friends. Brands that fail to answer this question well will be doomed to "pay an increasingly ineffective and expensive tax called traditional broadcast advertising.” 

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain

With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.

Photo: Heinrich Hoffmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Battle of Britain is widely recognized as one of the most significant battles that occurred during World War II. It marked the first major victory of the Allied forces and shifted the tide of the war.
  • Historians, however, have long debated the deciding factor in the British victory and German defeat.
  • A new mathematical model took into account numerous alternative tactics that the German's could have made and found that just two tweaks stood between them and victory over Britain.
Keep reading Show less

New data reveals Earth closer to a black hole and 16,000 mph faster

A new study shows our planet is much closer to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center than previously estimated.

Position and velocity map of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Credit: NAOJ
Surprising Science
  • A Japanese radio astronomy project revealed Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way's center.
  • The data also showed the planet is moving 7 km/s or 16,000 mph faster in orbit around the Galactic Center.
  • The findings don't mean Earth is in more danger from the black hole but reflect better modeling of the galaxy.
  • Keep reading Show less

    How has technology changed — and changed us — in the past 20 years?

    Apple sold its first iPod in 2001, and six years later it introduced the iPhone, which ushered in a new era of personal technology.

    PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images
    Technology & Innovation
    Just over 20 years ago, the dotcom bubble burst, causing the stocks of many tech firms to tumble.
    Keep reading Show less
    Surprising Science

    The magic of mushrooms: A mycological trip

    A biologist-reporter investigates his fungal namesake.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast