The data scandal around Cambridge Analytica currently has Facebook firmly under control. These days, CEO Zuckerberg is summoned to the US Congress and is confronted with unpleasant questions. Zuckerberg’s defense that “Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company” and has never seriously argued that the platform could be misused for malicious purposes is quite naïve anyway.
However, there are signs that Facebook users are largely ignoring the news. A survey by Deutsche Bank Markets Research earlier this month revealed that only one percent of respondents (n = 500) disable or even delete their accounts. Investors now have another meaningful number that supports this assumption.
Interaction still strong
Jefferies has now shared the findings of a study stating that the scandal does not affect the central Facebook platform. Analyst Brent Hill notes that the time spent from March 2017 to March 2018 has actually risen by 15%. The analyst also says Facebook’s profitability would first of all suffer because all the measures to improve security cost money. Ultimately, they would be worthwhile.
“In light of the recent difficulties, we believe FB is likely to employ a significant amount of staff and consultants to focus on privacy and security. This will affect margins in the near future, “Hill wrote. “We do not consider this as negative, however, as investments focus on areas where consumer confidence is built, which will be beneficial over the long term.”
Zuckerberg said in January:
“One focus for us is preventing fake news, hate speech and other abuse. To protect the security and integrity of our platform, we invest in people and technology. Around 14,000 employees now work in the areas of community ops, online ops and security. That’s almost twice as much as a year ago. ”
Just recently, Facebook announced that it will launch a new initiative to work with academic advisers to examine the impact of social media on democracy.
While these data are relatively encouraging for Facebook, the scandal is far from over. The longer it takes for Facebook to solve the crisis satisfactorily, the greater the risk that the users will no longer participate – but at some point, the constant, annoying dripping of holes will hollow out the stone.
But now it seems that Facebook’s user base is unimaginably painless.