Analysts always grasp for analogies to explain Facebook’s tortured relationship with its users. Facebook has been called the sterile suburbs to the gritty urban Internet; it is a “walled garden” in the organic messiness of the Web; it is Russia under Vladimir Putin; it is (and this one stings in tech circles) today’s AOL.
But perhaps the most telling metaphor compares Facebook to the other companies lurking at the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index: cable companies, wireless telephone service providers. Utilities. Here are services everyone uses, no matter how much people dislike the companies that provide them.