When news broke that Facebook knowingly allowed app developers to use targeted data-mining apps in their platforms, leading to Cambridge Analytica’s capture of 50 million users’ personal data (without their knowledge) for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, it triggered new levels of outrage from advertisers, Facebook users and Wall Street.
Our trend-tracking perspective: This incident outraged millions who learned their personal data were exploited for political reasons amid claims that the information helped Trump get elected. But it confirms our forecast in 2016 about people spending less time on Facebook, a sizeable number dropping Facebook entirely and advertisers spending less money on the site.
In fact, Neilsen data show that Facebook’s main platforms in December 2017, vs. a year earlier, showed an 18 percent decline in user time spent engaging the platforms.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of Facebook, discounted the declines’ importance to shareholders. He blamed algorithm changes, statistical anomalies and the ever-changing social-media environment. For the Cambridge Analytica crisis, he leisurely waited a few days before responding to the outcry, and then gave half-baked excuses.
Previously, in keeping with his usual practice of discounting hard facts and providing false data, Zuckerberg “misstated” easily verifiable facts about elevating the average time users spend watching video ads. More viewing time, unsurprisingly, means higher advertising fees for Facebook.
MISHAPS? THEY’RE LIES!
How big was that miscalculation? Publicis Media, a major global ad-buying agency, said Facebook’s method of tracking users online overestimated the average time eyeballs spent viewing videos by 60 to 80 percent.
Sixty to 80 percent? That’s a lot of clicks – and dollars. While we reported and followed this larcenous trend, this once-breaking story faded from the business news cycle in one day.
The Trends Research Institute follows current events and news that form future trends. The Cambridge Analytica revelation is just the latest in a slow grind of news and events that, as we have been forecasting, reflect Facebook’s diminishing appeal among users, advertisers and investors.
The company lost $50 billion in stock value. Major advertisers, such as Mozilla and Commerzbank, ceased advertising on Facebook platforms, and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook trended online.
PEOPLE ARE PRODUCTS TO FACEBOOK
Two years ago, the Trends Journal predicted that Facebook and its monopolistic cousin, Google, would begin to lose favor and market share with their massive global audiences.
These controlling, manipulative companies have established a nasty record of grossly distorting their metrics to drive up digital advertising fees – all while scooping up swaths of personal data they can sell to other firms, or allowing data mining without anyone knowing. While Facebook didn’t “sell” its data to Cambridge Analytica, it certainly opened the door, letting the fox and Trump campaign in. Users are no longer customers to these companies; they are the product.
The bottom line is trust – and Facebook, Google and other social-media sites exploiting users’ personal data are losing that trust. The more users and advertisers they lose, the lower their stock values will fall.
TREND FORECAST: Get ready for this 2020 OnTrendpreneur® David vs Goliath opportunity.
While Facebook and Google will dominate market share for the foreseeable future, market gaps are widening. They’re ready to be filled by nimble, trustworthy OnTrendpreneurs having 2020 foresight.
Trends are born, they grow, mature, reach old age and die. In the new world internet order moving at the speed of light, these tech giants are ready to be brought down. They’ll be replaced with data-secure platforms, real accountability and visions of the future that have yet to emerge.
Beyond the issues of lost trust and accountability, the Internet is ready for a populist revolution – just as there is a global backlash raging against establishment political parties. New sites of the people, for the people and by the people will rule.