How Facebook's 'Like' Button Is Taking Over the Internet

Easy integration, smart personalization, aggressive marketing

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Facebook's proliferating "like" button, which seeks to integrate social networking with news sharing, does not appear to have been slowed by concerns about privacy. Just a week after launching the tool, Facebook says it now appears on over 50,000 Web sites and has been viewed over a billion times, marking a major victory for Facebook's expanding control over the Internet. How did they do it?

  • Very Easy to Integrate   Erictric's Betrand is impressed. "Facebook has made it relatively easy for any website owner to integrate any of the social plugins. The process usually involves just copying and pasting a few lines of codes. These figures are definitely nothing short of impressive, given that many users are still adjusting to the new changes. We can expect those numbers to grow exponentially in the coming weeks."
  • Facebook Addresses Privacy Concerns  On the official Facebook developer's blog, Sandra Liu Huang says their success comes from "engaging users in a frictionless experience without requiring them to share any personal information." She addresses the privacy concerns, writing, "Unified data permissions dialog and new data policies [are] Giving users more control and greater transparency over their data, and making integrating with Facebook Platform easier for developers."
  • Owning Social Media Across the Web  TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid whistles, "This growth is important, because as more sites integrate these social widgets, Facebook will increasingly own social interaction across the web. We've also confirmed that Facebook met and surpassed Mark Zuckerberg's prediction that Facebook users would hit see the 'Like' button 1 billion times in its first 24 hours of existence. Not a bad start."
  • Putting Itself at the Center of the Internet  Mashable's Ben Parr says it's all about Facebook's Open Graph initiative. "Last week, Facebook unveiled the Open Graph API and social plugins during its F8 conference in San Francisco. The complex protocol and API create a more personalized web browsing experience, all through Facebook. Social plugins in particular allow users to interact with other websites (for example, 'Liking' them) without even logging in. ... Social plugins are just the first step in Facebook's ambitious plan to become the central nexus of the web. With this kind of adoption success, it's tough to imagine a scenario where Facebook doesn't take over the web."
  • Why It Will Defeat Digg  Softpedia's Lucien Parfeni predicts, "The Like button is pretty innocuous at first sight, but the adoption rate has been much bigger than what most people expected. In a sense, it could be compared to the Digg or Twitter buttons that are all over the web, enabling you to share a link with the world. But the Like button is more than that, it is deeply integrated with your profile and helps Facebook get a very accurate reading on the type of stuff you are interested in."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.