Is Facebook a consumer company?

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Essays

What defines a consumer company, anyway? My working definition was a company which had you and me, individuals, as their customers. Samsung is a consumer company. I buy phones, washing machines, flat screens. Unilever is a consumer company. I buy ice cream, shampoo, and tea. Microsoft is a consumer company. I buy word processing, operating systems, and video game consoles. These companies are made or broken by how many products they can sell me. 

What do I buy on Facebook? Yes, Zynga sells me (well, *somebody*) all sorts of digital goods within their games. And yes, Facebook does sell credits on the side. But 85% of their revenue comes from advertising. They sell advertising to companies: their customers are enterprises. Are these ad-revenue digital platforms really consumer companies? We are their product, not their customer, after all.

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