Facebook’s stock took a nosedive last week, sending shockwaves through the stock market. Twitter also took a big hit. Time for perspective: the price is back to where it was in May. The stock price took a big jump in July, then came back down to earth.
Are we looking at end of days, an overdue correction, or time for Facebook et al to reexamine the business model?
The tech sector has no historic perspective. They have always felt that the rules of business don’t apply to them. Tech is a mere extension of utilities we’ve seen before. Facebook, in many respects, is the telco reimagined. Only, in this case, you can reach out and touch people globally, without incurring long distance charges. Or make a conference call, when it comes to posts.
Question: How would the Ma Bells have fared had they censored conversations by cutting off calls or refusing service to people whose conversations they did not approve, or held a political believe not in lockstep with that of the CEO?
Or had the ability to listen in on customers, everywhere they went, whether on not they were using the service? Or were not even customers of the service?
The platform has clearly lost its way, and this has been going on for quite some time (Facebook Isn’t the Social Network Anymore. It’s losing the intimacy that once addicted us. So it’s becoming something different—and much bigger). And the #DeleteFacebook movement was not that long ago. The platform may not have lost what they might consider a significant number of users. But user engagement has been declining for quite some time.
Will the stock price bounce back?
Given the sheer number of registered Facebook users – 2+B – it was only a matter of time before user growth slowed, or at least peaked, which is what we’re witnessing in their most valuable markets.
It may well be time to reexamine one of Silicon Valley’s favorite mantras: that we are the product. Advertisers may be the (paying) customers, but users are the necessary audience in the room to attract them. Facebook has proven time and again that it has little regard for its users, collecting enormous amounts of personal data – and selling it -, making it available to (sometimes unvetted) third parties; mind control experiments. What to speak of the fact that Facebook Stands to Lose Tens of BILLIONS in Dozens of Lawsuits, including its use of ad tools to discriminate against older job seekers and the $3.9 billion they were slapped with in lawsuits on the first day of GDPR.
With all due respect, Mr. Zuckerberg, people are voicing their opinions, voting with their feet/eyeballs. Time to rethink the business model, unless you want to go the way of MySpace, Friendster, Orkut and all of the other social platforms that preceded Facebook. While you may feel that you can dish out whatever politics and preferences, apologies and peccadillos you’d like and that Facebook users will naturally acquiesce, welcome to the real world. Here’s a tip-off for you, and we paraphrase somewhat: Amazon founder and wealthiest man on the planet Jeff Bezos once commented, “I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ His answer: “human nature.”
This is your wake up call:
People aren’t the dumb f*cks you once thought they were. Facebook is not a nation-state with the ability to operate outside the laws of governments and human nature. It’s a service provider. Facebook, not its users, is the product. And people just aren’t buying it way they used to. Onward and forward.