Facebook is a social network that allows individuals to easily keep in touch with their friends and families and corporations to keep in touch with their clients.
However, Facebook’s objective is to make its subscribers share as much information as possible, because the more Facebook knows about you, the more precisely it can sell relevant advertisements to you.
Advertising firms have long understood the value of Facebook’s unprecedented trove of personal information. They can serve ads using highly specific details, like relationship status, location, employment status, favourite books, mobile device, movies or TV shows, and a host of other categories.
Many Ghanaian organisations, including religious groups and individuals, have advertised on Facebook. Even though Facebook doesn’t have an office in Ghana, our beloved country has made it possible to operate in our democratically stable country. They are not situated here but make a lot of money from organisations and individuals by advertising to the people in Ghana.
Facebook is a publicly traded company estimated to be worth at least $50 billion. It boasts that it is free to join and always will be, so where’s the money coming from to service over one billion subscribers? Facebook and Google made approximately $36.5 billion in advertising revenue in 2011. They are using your online activity to develop a frighteningly accurate picture of your life. Facebook’s goal is to serve advertisements that are more relevant to you than anywhere else on the web, but the personal information they gather about you both with and without your consent can also be used against you in other ways.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) can easily quantify Facebook’s Value added Tax, Corporate Tax and Profit Tax. This is because advertisers in Ghana remit Facebook through visa, master card or direct debit. This is made possible by our domestic banks. The banks can therefore assist GRA with every single payment made to Facebook for the revenue authority to act accordingly. The authority can double-check by also visiting the site regularly with a Ghanaian IP address to check the Ghanaian organisations and other foreign organisations that are listed and advertising to Ghanaians.
If media houses in and outside Ghana pay taxes in their operations by making it possible for its clients (advertisers) to reach the upright people in Ghana, then why can’t the GRA make Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others also do the same?
By: Aleem Kumi Agyemang /www.graphic.com.gh/