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Corporate Social Responsibility Case Study

Case Title:

Facebook (A): The Start-up's "Social" Success

Publication Year : 2007

Authors: Prabhu Sethuraman & Rajendar Singh Rathore

Industry: Social Networking

Region: US

Case Code: CSR0049

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available


The Facebook case series follows the success and strategic dilemmas of Facebook, the world's second largest social networking site. Case (A) is about how it evolved from a US college-goer's portal into a full-fledged social networking site, in less than 3 years. With 52 million unique visitors in 2007, Facebook has seen a 270% increase in its site's traffic than previous year's. This case assesses social networking site's potential to become multi-billion-dollar profit machines and questions students if other players like MySpace and YouTube erred by selling themselves off. This case is an example of a start-up, with a clear value proposition and focused differentiation, which commanded premium pricing. It also analyses Facebook's differentiating factors in a competitive environment and ends discussing its intent to become the 'new Google'.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the concept of social networking and its emergence as a profitable industry
  • To understand the behaviour of social networkers
  • To discuss the business model of Facebook and differentiate its key success factors from its competitors
  • To analyse the threat posed by Facebook to other companies like Google and debate whether they can in fact become the 'new Google'.

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