Facebook blows technicolor chunks. Let’s count off a few of the leading reasons for the giant suck.
- Facebook lies about its traffic, inflating their numbers by 900% in some cases.
- Facebook allows politicians (and Russian agents) to run paid lies on its platform.
- Facebook is the world’s largest excuses factory.
The San Jose Mercury News has a good overview of the legal case against Facebook that was brought by members of the advertising industry in 2016. The case was grounded in this fact: Facebook “created and disseminated the new video analytics platform and its video metrics to induce users to purchase Facebook’s video advertising services.” And purchase they did, because the almighty Facebook said so.
The scandal over the metrics led to allegations that it was not just advertisers harmed by the video-viewing-time inflation — it was a purported primary factor in a “pivot to video” widely adopted in the news media. “As advertising budgets shunted toward video to tap the apparent Facebook viewership goldmine, publishers’ editorial budgets followed,” Slate reported in 2018. “Publications such as Mic, Vice, Mashable, and many others laid off writers and editors and cut back on text stories to focus on producing short, snappy videos for people to watch in their Facebook feeds.”
In other words, the lies that Facebook told advertising and media companies did significant damage to advertising and media companies.
The viewership metrics were inflated by 150 to 900%. Whole companies shifted their strategy to video. Companies going bankrupt, people losing jobs, FB gets away with 0.18% of annual income ($40M / $22B), a slap on the wrist. https://t.co/6Gdw2eRY7a
— Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) October 13, 2019
The First Rule of Facebook
The first rule of Facebook is to never accept responsibility for crimes committed and other serious errors in judgment.
Facebook paid just $40M fee to settle the case, after failing to have it dismissed four times and admitting no wrong.
My friend Bob Hoffman, in his latest email newsletter, is smart to ask why advertising professionals are so easily swayed by the digital dream.
And once again, let’s ask the pivotal question: How can it be that the agency buyers who are supposed to be experts at evaluating, analyzing and understanding online metrics did not know they were being screwed blind by Facebook with such outrageously false claims?
Advertising and media pros have a role to play in revealing who and what Facebook truly is. What started as an online way for elite college students to scope hotties quickly became the place where millions of people freely volunteered their every thought, purchase, location, emotion, image, and so on. From a surveillance state perspective, Facebook is the Trojan Horse towering over America’s faltering democracy.
The Mark and Don Show
Should Senator Elizabeth Warren become president of the United States in January of 2021, she intends to break up the modern tech monopolies.
The Facebook ad from Warren’s campaign says: “Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. Now, they’re deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people. It’s time to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable.”
Do Something About It
Millions have left Facebook’s platform in disgust already. But millions more continue to hang on, feeding the platform precious personal data every day. I’ve been one of the people who thought quitting Facebook is for quitters. My mind has been changed.
Here’s what I am doing today:
- Delete the Facebook App from my phone
- Remove the Facebook-enabled comments here on Adpulp
- Stop using Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp for personal and business purposes
The next step following the above actions is to delete all of FB and FB-related accounts.
It’s an important consideration and one that I am now weighing. Just like turning away from all the mental pollution manufactured by cable news, we have to be extra diligent as consumers of media and reject those who seek to profit by mechanisms of control.
We can be Facebook-free and go back to calling and texting our friends, and from a business perspective, there are simply dozens of better places and ways to find new customers. It’s time.