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Could This Be Facebook's Downfall?

Written by Monica Savaglia
Posted April 3, 2018

Whether you like it or not, your personal information is connected to a bunch of apps and websites.

I know when I’m making these types of accounts, I don’t think twice about it. And most often, I have no choice in the matter.

I have to make an account and share my personal information in order to use the app or website.

Sure, I could choose not to sign up to these websites, but then I lose the convenience of living in an interconnected world. Being so connected makes my life a thousand times easier.

I’m sure when you joined Facebook back in the day, you didn’t think twice about it. You probably thought it was just a website where you could stay in touch with old classmates, friends, and family.

Only recently have I started to feel a little hesitant about the amount of information I put out on social media, especially Facebook.

Social media knows more about me than probably my own friends or family. It knows the type of content I interact with. And once it knows that, it feeds me more of what I like, weeding out the content I’m not interested in.

In theory, this seems like a great idea. But then you start to only see things you’re interested in... instead of educating yourself on other information from around the world.

Larger Than Life

There was no way anyone could have predicted how much Facebook would affect our lives.

And that kind of power comes with a lot of responsibility. It also comes with a lot of people looking to abuse that influence and take advantage of users to benefit financially.

In the past month, Facebook and data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica have been in the news related to the abuse of power that comes with a huge social media platform.

Cambridge Analytica proved that data abuse by huge networks like Facebook is becoming a significant concern. Firms and people who abuse the power networks have over us play a massive role in our society.

The researcher in the middle of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data analysis and political advertising scandal has revealed to sources that his method of getting the data was similar to the one Netflix uses to recommend movies to its users.

Facebook is claiming that Cambridge Analytica violated Facebook’s policies, which the firm denies. The firm is being charged with taking the data of 50 million Facebook profiles in order to predict an individual’s personality traits and make ads more effective.

One of Cambridge Analytica’s clients was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. There have been claims that Trump campaign consultants used Cambridge Analytica’s data from 50 million Facebook users to create targeted digital political advertising.

Facebook’s valuation has fallen around $60 billion since the Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced early last month.

That’s a huge drop in the company’s market valuation — roughly 12%. Governments around the globe are opening investigations to determine whether their nations have been affected.

There is even a social movement that is calling for users to delete Facebook.

#DeleteFacebook

As more and more information gets leaked to the public, Facebook is having a hard time adequately responding to criticism. 

Its first step so far has been shutting down a tool known as “Partner Categories.” This tool allows advertisers to target specific groups of users with the help of data that’s obtained by other groups.

In mid-March, Facebook announced that it would be suspending Cambridge Analytica because of concerns about the firm violating the site’s policies. But Facebook still faces backlash from its users and shareholders.

Cambridge Analytica released a statement in which the firm reiterated that it “did not use Facebook data from research company Global Science Research on the 2016 presidential election.”

Regardless of who is to blame, both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are in the spotlight. And there is a growing awareness of how powerful social media networks are and the type of data they have their fingertips.

Legislators, the Federal Trade Commission, and other agencies are investigating and are considering the rules that need to be put in place so users are protected.

Celebrities and companies alike are putting their foot down when it comes to Facebook. Comedian Will Ferrell deleted his Facebook account, leaving a message to his followers that said he couldn’t be on a website that allows for the spread of propaganda.

SpaceX and Tesla deleted their Facebook pages as well.

Facebook has been on top for so long that it probably didn’t seem like it would ever fall. But here we are.

When a company is dealing with the data of millions of users, it needs to assure users that they don’t have to worry about their data and that it’s possible to trust a company as big as Facebook.

But sometimes these massive social networks don’t see that. They see users only as a way to earn a profit and tend to forget that they depend on users to stay in business.

Think about it: If Facebook had no users, it wouldn’t have user data. And there would be no reason for companies to buy ad space on Facebook’s website if there were no users.

Until next time,

Monica Savaglia

Monica Savaglia

Monica Savaglia is Wealth Daily’s IPO specialist. With passion and knowledge, she wants to open up the world of IPOs and their long-term potential to everyday investors. She does this through her newsletter IPO Authority, a one-stop resource for everything IPO. She also contributes regularly to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Monica, click here.

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