Facebook’s business model demands that it continue to attract users that share personal information.
Facebook is not your Nana’s kitchen.
In March this year, Facebook became a victim of its own successful business model, questioned over its practices of serving up the personal profiles of billions of willing punters to advertisers, marketers, promoters and of course political consultants.
The bad publicity rained like dollar bills for Facebook and its co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was obliged to front the US House Energy and Commerce Committee to answer a ‘please explain’ for potential breaches in use of personal data.
This has prompted Facebook to engage in what could be described as a ‘Nana’s kitchen’ public relations and advertising campaign. It’s the idea that there’s no safer, warmer, friendlier place than Nana’s kitchen — and that’s exactly how Facebook wants you to feel about its social platform.
A place where there’s no blaring ads or ‘fake news’. A place where families and friends can come together over a warm hot chocolate and share their lives.
But in the words of rap outfit Public Enemy, ‘don’t believe the hype’.
Facebook is a corporate titan with revenue of around US$40 billion in 2017, responsible to its shareholders and investors.
As at the first quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.19 billion followers. Its true treasure trove is the terabytes of data it holds on every user, which drives its core business model of providing this immensely valuable commodity to corporate organisations, multinational companies, employers, and governments.
In 2017, advertising made up approximately 97 percent of Facebook’s $40 billion in revenue — that is video advertisements, mobile advertisements, page likes, post boosts and more, derived from individuals and companies.
This will not change.
Facebook’s business model demands that it continue to attract users that share personal information. This requires adapting systems and utilising new apps, gadgets, games and other ‘add-ons’ in order to encourage greater engagement by users with a willingness to share details about themselves.
Facebook’s strategic direction can be clearly seen through its acquisitions. In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for US$19 billion, generating US$40 per user, per unit of time. By February 2018, WhatsApp had a user base of over 1.5 billion, making it the most popular messaging application at the time.
Facebook can be fun as a platform for social interaction. However, consumers should be under no illusion that this corporate giant is going through some sort of new-leaf-turning change in the way they do business.
You don’t risk $40 billion of revenue a year just because of some difficulties in the media. You run a glossy PR campaign in an attempt to convince people that you’re getting back to your roots — getting back to Nana’s kitchen. Because Nana never changed her apple pie recipe just because she burnt the crust that one time.
See the media clipping.