You go away for a few days, and what happens.
– A Facebook privacy kerfuffle (I asked folks at Facebook about this, the response: Facebook respects user privacy and access to site usage and profile information is restricted at the company. Any Facebook employees found to be engaged in improper access to user data will be disciplined or terminated).
– More rumors of an impending Google counterstrike, code named Maka Maka.
– Yet more rumors that two hedge funds have matched Microsoft’s $15bb valuation and tossed another $500mm into Facebook’s coffers.
What to make of all this?
Well, first, the privacy issues is a very real one for Facebook, because, well, it’s the heart of how the company intends to make good on that $15bb valuation. Knowing a lot about its users is key to the Facebook answer to AdWords. For more insight on what I’m on about, read about how Facebook chooses newsfeed items. It’s quite revealing (right down to the idea of News Feed Optimization). In short, Facebook can’t afford to have the privacy issue go sideways right now.
And speaking of affording, all that new money will come in handy for M&A. It has to, because now that the bar is set at $15bb, I’m guessing entreprenuers who might have otherwise been interested in selling to Facebook for stock might reconsider the upside given such a lofty pre-IPO valuation. Facebook still has a lot to prove, and cash is still king.