Wall Street Loves Facebook, But Do Users?

Social networking site draws a lot of complaints, which may spell trouble in the future

Enthusiasm appears to be building among investors for Facebook's impending initial public offering (IPO), when shares of the now privately held company will be sold to the public on Wall Street.

Consumers, on the other hand, are less than thrilled with their Facebook experience. According to a computerized sentiment analysis of more than 88 million comments posted on social media over the last year, Facebook has struggled to maintain a positive net sentiment in the low 30% range -- hardly a ringing endorsement.

The company has raised its expected IPO share price from $29 to $34 to $34 to $38. The company, which operates a social networking site with more than 750 million members worldwide, is expected to officially price its stock Thursday.

While investors see the stock offering as the next big thing, many of Facebook's members have offered a litany of complaints about the site as it has rapidly grown in size, as reflected in this snapshot of comments by those 88 million members who posted to Twitter, Facebook and other social media:

Some users who've written to ConsumerAffairs complain that Facebook seems to arbitrarily interfere with their activities.

Do I know you?

“Once again, I've been blocked for 30 days for requesting friendships with people I didn't know,” Bev, of Springfield, Ohio, wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. “This statement is false, anyone I request as a friend is either family, a friend, or someone I went to school with.”

Facebook users rate their experience

Ola, of Cairo, Egypt, finds customer service lacking.

“I can't log-in to my account because of the security check,” Ola writes. “There was no massage sent to me, the phone call gives me a wrong code and I sent my government ID but they didn't respond to my mail.”

Some of the complaints obviously stem from Facebook's enormous size. With 750 million “customers,” operating call centers or even responding to individual emails just isn't going to happen.


Some Facebook users, like Shannon, of Vilonia, Ark., complain about political censorship.

“Facebook is discriminating against my posts,” Shannon writes. “I support Ron Paul and Facebook kicked me off for three days. Whatever happened to our constitutional rights? Our freedom of speech has been cut off by Facebook.

While law enforcement officials have expressed concern about online security for young users, Facebook has initiated procedures to identify problems and deal with them. But Jeff, of Toomina, Australia, says they don't seem to work very well.

“I reported three sexually explicit posts, very explicit for a 17 year old girl (her account was obviously hacked),” Jeff writes. “I clicked on the 'report story,' did this three times for the three different stories. Now Facebook has decided to block my account. This was as soon as I clicked submit on the third complaint. I no longer have access to my phone that was used to register. This profile is my business account and I would like to sue Facebook for this as I have done nothing wrong.”

The hundreds of complaints about Faceback in the last year in the ConsumerAffairs database may be a drop in the bucket when compared to the company's massive membership. But the lukewarm postings of 88 million consumers, combined with the ConsumerAffairs postings, may be indicative of the kinds of problems a social networking site faces when trying to manage such a large number of “customers.”

Still, it's not likely to dampen the enthusiasm for Facebook stock. Many analysts see it as the next Google, whose share price is now well over $600. Arvind Bhatia, the interactive media analyst for investment bank Sterne Agee, is bullish on the Facebook IPO, giving it a $46 price target and estimating the company will triple revenue over the next five years.

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