By Sudarshana Banerjee

Have you ever wondered how much money it takes to run Facebook? About a billion dollars a year. The social networking utility has over 800 million users, which means, on an average, our activities on Facebook give the company a yearly overhead of a little over a dollar per user.

Facebook felt the need to explain its business models to users, or some of them at any rate. Facebook users saw a note from Facebook on their pages today, asking them if they have wondered how the company makes money (why, yes, of course!). Clicking on a link takes them to the ‘About Advertising On Facebook’ page, which explains in elaborate detail how much it costs to keep Facebook going, and how the site makes most of its money (through ads, in case you were still wondering).

“Is it true Facebook sells my name and contact info to make money?” seems to be the question foremost on Facebook’s mind, and it chooses to address the issue head on. Here is how Facebook answers the question: No. Facebook does not sell your personal information. Instead, Facebook makes its money from showing you ads.” (If we choose to share our personal information and the information of our friends with those pesky apps, that is entirely our bad.)

By the way, Facebook does use your name and picture for ads. Posts or activity that include your profile photo or name – like a story about you liking Starbucks – may be paired with an ad or highlighted in a sponsored story, though your name and photo will only appear to people you shared the original story with. Did you not always want to be a model? Pity.