” There is no Stopping Facebook ” – May 15, 2019.

          Of late FB is being invaded by storm.

          Public knowledge and awareness to the privacy of their data was roused by the revelations of  FB-Cambridge Analytica data scandal first in March 2018. FB lost more than  $ 100 billion in share prices and  CEO,  Mark  Zuckerberg,  had to agree to testify before the Congress.  He apologised :  ” it was my mistake. I am sorry. I started FB,  and I am responsible for what happens here.”

Chris Hughes

          A few days ago,  Co-founder,  Chris Hughes, who left FB in 2007 after selling his shares for half a billion dollars in a sense of anger and responsibility wanted FB to be broken up as a mark of  ‘accountability’.

          Domination of Zuckerberg ;  wielding power that is unprecedented and un-american ;  Zuckerberg’s  unilateral control over speech ;  need for acceptable guidelines for free speech on social media ;  need for reforms to restore shareholders’  and  public’s  confidence –  are the reasons he advocated.

          Democratic Presidential nomination seekers (2020) –  Elizabeth Warren (MA) ,  and  Kamala Harris (CA)  strongly pitch for breaking up of big tech companies like  FB,  Amazon,  and  Google if they are elected. Unilateral power over economy, society, and democracy is not good – according to them.

          Mark Zuckerberg, however, is far from rattled. He has his defense playing strong :  ” Breaking up the company, FB, cannot bring about accountability;  cannot successfully address problems of safety, privacy, misinformation, and speech ;  rather it would actually hinder FB’s efforts to safeguard it’s networks;  FB’s  budget for Safety this year is more than the whole revenue of the company when FB went public earlier this decade” – he added.

          Former  UK  Deputy PM and FB  VP, Communications,  Nick Clegg said : ” what matters is not size but rights and interests of consumers..  Big is not bad;  success should not be penalised. “

          There is no alternative social media platform for the consumers now to switch to and that makes it hard for critics to get FB to submit to them at this juncture.

          I always speak in my classes that  “innovation”  sprouts and shows up in an environment of adversity and chaos. The situation that FB finds itself in is no different than this.

          FB is already on its move to be more than a mere social media platform with its intended foray into a cryptocurrency based financial tech system tying itself to Visa,  Master Card, and First Data Corporation enabling its shareholders and consumers to make payments, exchange money, and to buy products. This may well be a new and extremely significant value addition .

          World going digital and no smartphone without FB is the best advantage that FB enjoys now. And rightly, it expects to make big inroads into business aggressively. To follow the  ‘marketing dictum’  it  wants  to “explore  the unchartered territory and tap the market big swiftly”.

          It also throws light on another management dictum that emphasises any entrepreneur to remain  ‘focused’  on his/her goal. Mark Zuckerberg remained fixated on the goal of  ‘growth’  and slipped in the aspects important to consumers – safety and privacy. While this does not absolve him of his errors, serious as they are perceived to be now, it throws light on the shortcomings of a true leader. His failure to list the responsibilities clearly, and effectively delegate them to an identified group within the organization is a lesson to be learnt in management.

          FB may feel threatened ;  Zuckerberg may feel betrayed ;  Critics may feel pleased ;  Consumers may feel bewildered ;  Regulations may be tightened ;  –  but innovations and value additions cannot be stymied.

          The present environment may at best spell a downward trend for FB, but its resurgence with accelerated momentum is not far away. 

          There is no Stopping FB.

FB’s Co-founders : Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Mark Zuckerberg.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Wednesday,  May 15, 2019 – 8.59 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit :  ” Social Media puts the  ‘public’  into  PR and the  ‘market’  into  marketing “.  –   Chris  Brogen. 

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