As far as crappy years go, you really don’t get much worse than cryptocurrency in 2018. Losing over 80% of your market cap in 12 months is kind of rough. But you know who also had a tough time? Facebook. Last year was a series of migraines for Mark Zuckerberg who saw some $19 billion shaved off his wealth.
Granted, he’s still up there with the world’s richest but (violins ready please) he lost more than all the top 500 billionaires on the list.
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Billionaires who gained and lost the most money, in 2018:
🇺🇸 Jeff Bezos: $24b
🇨🇳 Lei Jun: $8.6b
🇨🇳 Colin Huang: $6.9b
🇩🇪 Georg Schaeffler: -$13.6b
🇪🇸 Amancio Ortega: -$16.6b
🇺🇸 Mark Zuckerberg: -$19.6b
(Bloomberg Billionaires, 2019)
— World Index (@theworldindex) January 1, 2019
Zuckerberg didn’t only lose net worth. He also lost credibility, trust, and a handful of his closest top executives. His company also became public enemy number one after leaping from one scandal to the next.
From selling data to leaking it, Mark’s had a hazardous run lately. But is it time to say enough’s enough? Are we ready to stop hating on Facebook?
Facebook is Far from Alone in Working with Shady Clients
Sure, Facebook may have sold your data, maybe Mark even knew what unsavory establishments were doing with it, but you know what? Wake up.
If you think that Zuckerberg is the only successful businessman to turn a blind eye to the evil machinations of his clients, you’re wet around the ears.
Citigroup and JPMorgan not only financed Enron (the then-largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history) but they even helped the company to fabricate transactions to alter their finances.
Let’s not even get started on evil FMCG giants like Nestle destroying the lives of people in developing countries across the globe, or selling misleading products. Or Gap, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and even Apple, using child labor to assemble their products.
That mine—in a place so deadly it’s known as The Mountain That Eats Men—had long been known to be worked by child laborers.
— Brian Merchant (@bcmerchant) August 15, 2017
Facebook may be selling your data but at least it isn’t sending children down coal mines or knowingly starving villages of people.
Let’s Talk Cambridge Analytica
This weekend actually marks the one-year anniversary of the scandal that sent the social media giant into a tailspin. And it seems like, a year later, Facebook is still in need of the Tylenol.
This week began with the company “mistakingly” removing ads that were critical of it. And it ended up with it suffering possibly the longest outage in its history.
Oh, and the departure of a couple more execs, another downturn in stock, and a criminal probe into how Facebook shares data. Jeez. They just won’t cut the company a break.
This Facebook sh*tstorm isn’t going away anytime soon and it all started with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Yet, it was that British political consulting firm hired by Trump that misused the Facebook accounts. Not Facebook itself.
Did Facebook know that they would target certain people and try to sway the results of the elections? Probably. But, isn’t that what any candidate in any election campaign does? Smear campaigns, spreading dirt on the opponent, making fake promises and false claims?
Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2017
Maybe it used to be on a billboard. Now it’s on social media. But if you’re one of the blind sheep naive enough to believe in the promises of an unelected candidate, don’t blame Facebook.
Hating on Facebook for its possible enablement of Russian involvement in the election only makes you look bad.
But then, it isn’t middle America who’s making a scapegoat out of Facebook, is it? The wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal is less about the U.S. elections than it is about turning people against Facebook.
Facebook Is Selling Our Data
I just choked on my coffee! Facebook is selling our data! Sorry, did that come as a surprise to anyone else? I didn’t realize that was actually news.
Are Facebook users seriously trying to say they never noticed how the advertising coincided with their age group and other key demographics? Or how they’re constantly jogged to fill out a completed profile?
Facebook selling data to give us a more relevant user experience (and make a profit) is a pretty fair trade-off for years of using a free tool that allows us to manage our social lives throughout the globe.
Facebook (before we started hating it) reunited people after years of search or silence. It allowed traveling nomads like myself to keep in touch with kindred spirits I never wanted to lose.
Best of all, it didn’t even make us compose an email. All we had to do was send them a birthday greeting or like a post. Genius.
Facebook was the revolution of my generation. It was the Web 2.0, the first platform to truly make the internet interactive and allow people to have an identity on the web, form groups with similar interests, and even bypass the cost of running a website for their business. They could just launch a free Facebook page instead.
All this and so much more… Yet people are actually pissed that the company is trying to make a profit?
Wake up and smell the bacon. The only thing Facebook is guilty of (along with the landslide of other free content platforms) is breeding entitlement.
Internet Users Hating on Facebook Are Entitled
We are now entirely used to getting access to information for free. Most tweenagers and even those in their early 20s won’t remember the days when you had to buy a newspaper to get access to information.
Facebook and the other pioneering internet companies like Twitter, WordPress, and Medium helped to completely devalue my profession.
No one wants to pay for content anymore. We’ve come to expect getting everything for free. We are generation after generation of entitlement.
I’ve had to deal with dropping my rates, and working harder and longer hours for less money. Yet, you don’t see my hands clasped around a pitchfork, baying for blood. That’s a free market for you, baby.
If You Don’t Pay for the Product, You Are the Product
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you were too stupid to realize that if you aren’t paying for the product then you are the product, go back to your ivory tower.
As long as Facebook isn’t draining my bank account, I couldn’t honestly care less about what they do with my mundane and uninteresting data.
Yet sh**coin after sh**coin appearing on the company’s radar has forced them into looking at releasing their own coin, for which, they will be praised and criticized.
— Panama Crypto ⚡ (@Panama_TJ) March 3, 2019
There’s something a little squeamish about watching Facebook bellyflop into the world of cryptocurrencies and launching a token into a system that works perfectly well without one. But hey, it’s a little early to send out the lynch mob on that one.
And as for the company’s foray into AI porn detection, well, I have no comment at the current time. I certainly won’t be uploading my naked photos to the company, however, but let’s cross that explosives-laden bridge when we come to it.
For now, can we just stop grasping every data spill, every quitting employee, every revelation of what Zuckerberg is doing with our data and just agree to stop hating on Facebook?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.