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Facebook Q1 2018 Earnings Slides [pdf] (fb.com)
204 points by uptown 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 258 comments



My main takeaway from this is that #deleteFacebook has been a flash in the pan-- their active user count is still increasing across all regions. Also to note, FB only pay effectively 11% tax on some 12 billion dollars worth of revenue.


Internet outrage is _never_ as widespread or important as it looks.

The best way to predict the effect of any social media campaign against a person or organization is to evaluate the steadfastness of the campaign's target.

If you are the target of an internet mob and you blink, you're not only going to enact mob-demanded changes that are detrimental to your interests, but also broadcast weakness and attract further mob attacks.

If you instead stand your ground and refuse to be cowed by hashtag campaigns, the outrage mob eventually gets bored and finds another target. Your interests are preserved and you end up broadcasting strength and determination.

A lot of people are starting to figure out that internet mobs have no real teeth.


Aye, this sort of thing is a running joke in the gaming community.

The classic example is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which had calls for boycotts prior to its release. Guess what those same people bought and played when the game released?

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/973/082/6e0...


It did work with EA's Battlefront 2 right? EA's stock value went down. Then sales of Battlefront2 wasn't as good as expected. Then there's now the hot topic of lootboxes being illegal.

We'll need to exactly define and agree what it is to be achieve tho. In my view, I think the point has been made and have been heard successfully and have caused the desired punch in the face.


I'd argue that ballooned beyond "internet outrage" though; a lot of parents started seeing the loot boxes as slot machines. That gave the issue its "Is it legal?" and "PROTECT THE CHILDREN" angles.

Honestly, people probably don't give enough credit to the MW2 "boycott"; it showed kids that they could organize if the company's practices got out of hand. I think the MW2 and BF2 issues were really part of a longer trend towards dark patterns in video games, and it took time for people in positions of authority to realize how serious the situation could become if they continued down the path they were on.


Governments getting involved with anti-gambling regulation might be significant enough to stop some practices.

But I work adjacent to some video game industry business strategy folks... and I can say that the various EA/microtransaction/season pass/pay2win boycotts haven't convinced anyone that those are the wrong way to go.

People in the industry are generally convinced that the golden goose is getting people to pay more than full price and now there are just footnote conversations about "can we get away this"


Such is the way of Capitalism. Profits over people. Otherwise you'll get eaten by other capitalists (or Oracle), since you have less 'growth'.

People in the industry needs get people to pay more than full price whether they like it or not.


I thought the #deleteuber campaign was somewhat successful? My understanding is a series of unfortunate events, largely kicked off by that campaign, ultimately led to Kalanick's downfall.

http://www.businessinsider.com/travis-kalanick-uber-takedown...


Kalanick is still a very successful founder - not that I necessarily think he should be emulated.

Regardless of what you think of Uber, Travis Kalanick started a very large company, and Uber is as entrenched as ever.

So perhaps this actually is evidence in favor of the parent comment. Did Uber really suffer much at all? Or did they just reshuffle management, pay Kalanick billions to (kind of) leave, and continued business as usual?


> continued business as usual?

Citations? I haven't really heard about them pulling any shenanigans under the new CEO's watch.


In all fairness, Uber's many shenanigans

1. Happened a lot over the early do or die periods of entering new markets. 2. Continued over a much longer period of time than Travis has been gone. 3. Happened while the company was being considered a darling and was not being critically scrutinized over every move it made.

Shenanigans are truly shenanigans only once the outside world gets to know about it. Paradox of sorts really.

Continuing business as usual in the context of the parent's comment though is less about shenanigans and more about the operating model probably. Drivers are still being duped. Earth scorching ride subsidization tactics are still very much in play. Although the CEO is gone and there may be some activity happening within the company to undo toxic cultures, the overall business has not truly changed. And the overall business really ought to change.


In technical terms, I think there is the economical vacuum present with the entrenched taxi business, which nature abhored hard enough that someone came along and "shot the moon" so to speak, by exploring business models on a large enough scale that the validation could occur before regulation could even understand the disruption, let alone protect innocent bystanders from the inevitable downsides.

Take for instance the case in michigan, where the Uber driver had a psychotic episode, and killed the people that were hiring him, over multiple rides over multiple hours, simply because he was the nearest driver. Uber had no infrastructure to locate a driver, or assist law enforcement in any meaningful, real time manner. Imagine if that happened in 2018, and the lack of critical infrastructure was laid that bare by a multi billion dollar tech company testing out it's latest business tweak.

In some ways, it's not much different from an organized crime structure. The main reason organized crime is able to get away with all of their crime for long enough to even establish itself is good legal representation, to help stay ahead of their regulators.


Didn't the traffic accident with the obviously not-watching safety driver happen under the new CEO's watch ?


Not every tragedy is a shenanigan? I seem to recall reading that the self-driving program started before his time, and that that the poor implementation was a result of the folks in that division hastily trying to impress the higher-ups -- not a result of something the CEO condoned. IIRC they stopped their testing after the incident. Not sure how you can claim he was having Uber pull shenanigans here.


#deleteuber had pretty much gone away until Susan Fowler post pointed out real problems which led to all the changes at Uber.

From the article you pointed at:

By mid-February, #deleteuber had slowed to a trickle and Uber's top executives were exhausted. Kalanick and Michael booked their trip to Malibu for what was supposed to be a weekend of rest and recovery. Instead, Kalanick was reading Fowler's post.. [which] had already gone viral.


There were a lot of problems at Uber beyond #deletuber. He probably would have gone anyway.


At least with Uber there are real & mainstream alternatives.


Not using Facebook, or really any social media, has always been a viable alternative.


Depends on where you live. In Denmark every social event, both public and private gatherings is organized through Facebook.

You’re not forced to be on Facebook but if you’re not then you’re the one person people will always need to do extra work to invite. And that’s for friends, without Facebook you won’t even hear about public events until after they have happened.

Don’t get me wrong, we always invite the two guys without Facebook, but I know both of them feel a little shitty about having to be extra trouble.

Eventually people will leave, and someone have to take the first step, but that’s a really shitty step. The reason I say eventually, is because nobody uses Facebook for anything but events, I haven’t used messenger since they forced you to use the app and I’m not the only one and when I look at my news feed none of my close friends (or myself) have posted anything since New Years.

So Facebook have become a satellite network we check for events, and that’s one step from being obsolete.

This is anecdotal of course, but it is true for both my and my wife’s friend circles.


That’s not really how the word “alternative” is typically used. “Mangoes” are not a good “ground beef alternative.”


You wouldn't say that if you'd tried my delicious mango lasagne


That actually sounds like it could be really good, especially with unripe mangoes.


> A lot of people are starting to figure out that internet mobs have no real teeth.

In some ways this should be self evident. If they had the tools or connections to enact real change, they wouldn't be forming mobs on social media.


Internet and news outrages generally last no more than two weeks.


Isn't this what Trump did too?! Refused to blink despite all the 'hits'...


It doesn't work that way. I learned it the hard way.

I run a successful s/w company that was recently under targeted attacks by one of these hashtag campaigns. The gist was we wrote something about why we refused to hire women simply to improve the % of females in tech and why we want to hire the best people for the job irrespective of their gender. The goal of the post was to help people correctly contribute to gender ratio problems instead of blanket hiring, which is sexism by itself.

However, this backfired and a lot of feminist groups targeted us with hashtags and some even accusing us of things we never said/done (the blog post has been removed since). They created memes, fake citations of stuff me and my company staff didn't say and they revolted heavily.

At first I was really shocked as this was my first time experiencing something like this and I almost thought my company and brand name was doomed. However, I decided to take control and published a follow up post of things we said, we did, we didn't do and we decided to stand by our words. The hashtags multiplied, some even threatened us legal action. Many created fake accounts on our blogs and commented bad stuff about us everywhere. Some of them even sent emails directly to our customers!

But, I didn't give in. A week went by and things started looking better. The hashtags dropped, but the good thing was, from those hashtags, we got a LOT of new page-views and signups. We lost two customers who didn't want to be associated with our controversy, but we got 8 new ones after this campaign.

The biggest take away -

1) If you believe in something, don't give in to threats and disrespectful demands. It's almost like supporting extortion.

2) Any free marketing is good marketing.

I suppose this was no different for Facebook.


Why did you write that blog post to begin with? Sounds like a terrible issue to write about if your goal is positive PR.


Those really shouldn’t have been the biggest takeaways.

Cure vs prevention. If you write a blog on behalf of a business, perhaps ask someone to read it over - preferably someone who holds the views you seek to attack.


Yeah, I may have to eat some crow from an argument the other day with another HN user. Surveys and #deleteFacebook and protests and so forth seemed to indicate that people did finally start getting interested in their own privacy.

But no. Somehow, even with a declining youth demographic and widespread reports of less time spent on site and the CA fiasco, they still ended up with a growth of users in all markets.

I've wondered sometimes whether we're headed towards a post-privacy world, and what it'll look like -- not just one in which there is little privacy, but one in which privacy is not something that most people think about or value.


We are not heading to a post-privacy world.

Post-Privacy means no one can get privacy even if they want it. That has never been the case.

What you are merely seeing is people are ok with the amount of data that has been collected on them. The lack of true widespread outrage means we are either at the limit or we can still collect a bit more before users get really pissed.


> Post-Privacy means no one can get privacy even if they want it. That has never been the case.

We are already there.

3-letter govt agencies can listen track your calls, intercept your browsing and read your email.

Unless you pay in cash and shop only at your local mom and pop shop, your purchases are already being tracked and reported.

Your cellphone carrier is selling your information to third parties.[1]

You may not be on Facebook or WhatsApp but all your IRL friends and family are. They have your phone number in their contacts list and they have shared it with Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and God knows how many other companies. They have taken your pictures and tagged you.

Other than a very small number of privacy-conscious people, which includes living-off-the-grid doomsday preppers, the rest of the country is already there.

1. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3233211/security/mobile-ca...


Why do you assume everybody is using email, has a cellphone, and only buys goods from mega-corps?


Why do you assume they’re not?

Constraining the discussion to America, you’d be far more wrong to assume someone doesn't use the internet[1][2] or a cellphone.[3][4]

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/05/some-america... - Only 11% of American adults don’t use the internet. Of 18-24 year olds, only 2% don’t. 2%. Holding narrowly onto your assertion, the numbers are higher for poor, rural, elderly and non-high school graduates.

[2]http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-20... - 68% of adults use Facebook. 73% use YouTube. Looking at 18-24 year olds, 95% use YouTube.

[3]http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/28/10-facts-abo... - 77% of adults own a smartphone.

[4]http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/ - 95% of adults own a cellphone.

Shopping at mega corps? Well, it’s well documented that Walmart has done a good job of decimating local economies and there is definitely a homogenization of retail options in the US - but even if you don’t shop at one of them, if you use a credit or debit card, a mega-corp is tracking you. Doubly so if you use a smartphone.


So 16 million people are nobody, huh?


Many HN readers have a very myopic view of the world, constraining their perspective to what they already know and do. There is a whole army of people out there that don't have cellphones, email and don't buy from mega-corps, but those who frequent HN have little knowledge of or connection to those who live exclusively in meatspace.


And license plate readers, and security cameras, and facial recognition, and gait recognition, and . . . and . . . ad infinitum.


What about 500 years ago where families would sleep all in the same floor and your parents would be having sex meters away from you? And the lords could do whateverthey wanted. There were not much privacy for most people at that time.


Only someone who specifically values privacy for its own sake is sensitive to how much data gets “collected” by the first parties they deliberately share it with. The rest of us care how it’s used, and ad targeting is mostly benign. The Facebook scandal is not about data or collection, but how the combination of data and attention can influence politics.


People are missing a very important thing in this earning statement.

The earning statement is for Jan 1- Mar 31 ONLY.

The Cambridge Analytica story was released around March 18.

So around 10-12 days of #DeleteFacebook would NOT have any noticeable effect on their earnings.

What would actually be noticeable would be Q2 Earnings (Apr 1- Jun 30)


With our current news cycles and the speed at which sentiments spread nowadays 10-12 days is more than enough time for us to see negative noticeable effects.

The fact is, if it hasn’t been observed by then it’s probably not happening at all.


> The fact is, if it hasn’t been observed by then it’s probably not happening at all.

That's a big assumption. The metrics we're shown might not have enough resolution to show the effects of 10-12 days of scandal. The fallout may be a much more gradual process than you assume.

For instance: take this scenario: someone decides to #deletefacebook, even though they use it daily as a communications tool. What do you think they'll do? You seem to assume they're ragequit immediately, but I think it's far more likely that they'll dial back their usage, explore replacements for certain features, exchange alternate contact info with FB-only friends, etc. Only much later will they actually delete or show a significant usage decrease.

That scenario isn't hypothetical, it's exactly what I'm doing. I've made the decision to disengage from Facebook, but I still show up as an active user because I'm not done with the process.

If you're going to measure a phenomenon with data, you have to understand what you're measuring and have an instrument that will detect that. Otherwise, it's just sciency voodoo.


With things like Facebook shadow profiles, you're pretty much driven out of any sufficiently developed society if you want true privacy.


Shadow profiles aren’t public.


Facebook's PR struggles (and users realizing how hostile the site is at it's core) is relatively recent -- most of that stuff happened Q2 of this year, not Q1, it won't be reflected till after right?


I think that is correct and most comments miss that point. It's too early to tell.


I struggled with this initially with FB and then decided all posts would be public. Never post anything that I wouldn't want public, and not allow on my timeline posts from other people that I don't want public (I know there are limits to this).

Targeted ads are fine to me. My bigger concern is the vast amount of data sharing on the back end that is easily non-anonymized and FB is a huge part of the problem.


> Targeted ads are fine to me.

This is actually the widespread attitude I imagine in a post-privacy world. It's different from people not understanding the implications of targeted ads and unknowingly accepting it. In this case, it's people that (presumably) understand this, and say, "well, that's okay."


Well, we are in a "post-privacy" world already. At least in the US. I'm not OK with that. I'm ok with the concept of anonymized targeted ads, but also realize that this attitude enabled bad actors and loose regulation to tear down that wall.


"All posts public" seems like a smart approach: it makes your posts worthless to FB, since everyone else has that information. I went ahead and deleted my account, more for FB's clueless response to the CA thing than the "breach" itself. I haven't missed it so far, but if I make another one, I'll make everything public and banal.


Slightly off topic, but did you see you criteria for stuff you want to be public to change over the years ?

My main frain from using facebook is not so much the visibility but the permanent nature of having personal stuff on the internet. I wonder how other people caring about what goes public deal with the issue.


I wonder if people will just engage far less (or not at all anymore), which is less obvious on these graphs.

Say, if I check my FB twice a month to stay informed about events I might participate in, I'm still counted as a monthly active user, but I'm not active in a meaningful sense.

Similarly, many people might stop interacting with FB (which, if nothing else, takes time to register: at least a month).

Personally, I logged in for the last time in (I believe) 2012, but I won't delete my account just so my name stays "reserved".


> I've wondered sometimes whether we're headed towards a post-privacy world, and what it'll look like -- not just one in which there is little privacy, but one in which privacy is not something that most people think about or value.

I think we already live in that reality. The media really honed in on the sharing of your friends list in the case of CA but if you think about it, there are plenty of services where that is public by default (like Twitter). I don't think most people consider that to be sensitive information.


I think it was probably me you were arguing with. I disagree that we live in a world where people don’t value privacy. Rather, I think that most reasonable people understand that not all data is created equal. They expect even more privacy today than they’ve ever had on things that everyone wants to be private - think medical records - but are quite happy to publicly share other data, such as what they had for lunch, and expect no privacy around this type of data. These two ideals can peacefully coexist.

So it is because Facebook is primarily meant for the latter type of data that most people outside of a very vocal minority don’t have a problem with their privacy practices. That, combined with legislation that will decimate any chance for the rise of a viable Facebook competitor (such as GDPR), is why their numbers will continue to grow for decades to come.


>Yeah, I may have to eat some crow from an argument the other day with another HN user. Surveys and #deleteFacebook and protests and so forth seemed to indicate that people did finally start getting interested in their own privacy.

I think it largely depends on who your friends are, and who you follow. All the people I follow on twitter for tech news were ranting and raving about all the FB scandals. Not a single one of my friends or people I follow outside of the tech bubble cared about it, most had no idea. If people spend their time on FB and insta, it's not hard to understand why they wouldn't even be aware of what was going on.


Blackberry saw growth years after the iPhone came out, and years after a decline in its North American market.

Global growth is not necessarily a sign of health for a company, in the long term.


> I've wondered sometimes whether we're headed towards a post-privacy world

If post-privacy worked both ways, I'm all for a future like that, it would be a transparency utopia.


But it will never truly be post-privacy. As always, the rich and powerful will carefully guard their privacy all while saying to the rest of the world that you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.


I thought the following was perhaps the most telling exchange of Zuckerberg's recent testimony before US Senators.

Senator Dick Durbin: Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?

Mark Zuckerberg: Um... [Long hesitation] No.

Senator Dick Durbin: If you messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you've messaged?

Mark Zuckerberg: Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here.


While you are probably right, these numbers only account for the first 10-12 days of #deletefacebook, and those are only a few days over most of a quarter's worth of growth before them.


#DeleteFacebook is not a thing. Anyone who thinks it was going to affect Facebook doesn’t understand the fundamentals behind Facebook. It’s just some meaningless outrage porn for people to hang a hashtag off of and maybe increase their social currency.

This stock is going to be back to its 190 price levels soon enough and anyone who isn’t on board is going to be left with the FOMO.


Perhaps, but I have certainly noticed a significant downturn in the level of end user engagement on Facebook in recent weeks. Almost nobody is posting these days. Plenty of ads and commercial organizations in my feed but very little organic content.


I've noticed this too. Thing is, the expectation seems to be users deleting their accounts en masse, while the reality is that people are just slowly drifting away from it (without going through the hassle of actually deleting their account).


I agree with you, I don't think we can really glean anything meaningful from this information since it is only a fraction of the quarter after the information came to light.

If we see a significant dip in Q2, then perhaps we can surmise that this impacted revenues negatively.


Maybe most people just don't care all that much about privacy. They just want to share their picture with friends.


I think most people do care about privacy, but they're not being given much of a choice here. Their friends are on Facebook, so the only way to share pictures with all of them is through Facebook.


From my point of view, I do care about privacy, beside I don't use mobile phone, I don't want to. Since whatsapp isn't an option for me, messenger app is only way to be in contact with friends, family. (I have iPod Touch) Considering I'm traveling often, I need to use it. I'm not fan of it, but I'm not against either. In the end we are product of Facebook and #deleteFacebook is a joke.


You can use Signal on an iPod touch.


They care, but what they’ve shared is likely not what they actually care about keeping private.


Maybe most people just don't care all that much about privacy

Not only that. Most people welcome the attention. The people who are fighting for privacy of their friends and family are the ones who don't get it. Friends and Family want to be out there, in the public eye, liked and commented on.


Most people just don't care about almost anything.


I am not familiar with recent numbers, but most controversies and calls to stop patronising a service have a positive immediate impact on the numbers of most companies where I worked (and that included Facebook some years ago).


It worked against Digg, but only because a reasonably well-known, functional equivalent existed that people could use instead.


Digg also (IIRC) wasn't an moral outrage against the company, but an reaction to the product itself.


This happens because of the publicity that companies get when new users find out about them this way. Everyone who gets this news knows Facebook by now, so there is no such effect in play here.


Meanwhile the worker bees pay 35-50% in income tax and other withholdings between state and federal. That pisses me off so much


Comparing personal income tax rates to corporate tax rates doesn't really make sense. At the end of the chain, corporations are always owned by human beings, who must pay tax as well (albeit possibly in the form of capital gains or taxes on dividends).

Point is, if you are upset, and I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't be, then the focus should be on the difference between tax on income vs capital gains / dividend income.


Something I've always been curious about: if capital gain taxes (for both individuals and corporations) were set to reasonable (high) levels, would there still be a strong argument for taxing corporate profits?


It depends on who you ask I suppose. I think it is reasonable to have 0% tax on corporations if the other taxes were correct. An issue is that under that regime many corps would choose to never pay a dividend, so that would have to be fixed somehow.


If the only tax on corporations occurred when dividends were paid, corporations would just stop paying dividends.

You’ll also have the problem we already have today, where individuals would construct their lives around a closely held corporation. When the corporation is closely held, income is supposed to pass through to the individual for taxation, but the incentives to evade theose rules would be much stronger.

In my perfect world most government revenue would come from land value taxes, with a smattering of Pigovian taxes on top, to the extent that the bureaucracy required to levy them wasn’t too onerous.


Ah cool. I see the benefits of having a straight land tax. An issue with that is that the value of land can be hard to figure out and is easy to game.

My ideal practical tax would be just a straight sales tax and nothing else. Income = Consumption + Savings, and since we want to encourage savings and investment it seems better and simpler to just do it that way.

Total libertarian dream scenario is no taxes, and government funds it self via slight inflation as a tax.


I get it, but I'd remove the first 6/7 of the post and add another 6/7 explaining the last sentence.

The first 6/7 is a condescending description of something obvious that doesn't respond to the OP's post, then reads histrionics into the post, then in the final sentences veers towards a real explanation, only to leave the rest as an unobvious exercise to the reader.


Which worker bees are paying 35-50%?

You just about have to make a million dollars per year in the US - and be in California or NYC - to pay 50%. One million dollars in income gets you to about 47% in LA, SF, or NYC. A quarter of a million dollar income will get you up to 35% - and those are the most expensive tax locations in the country.

$50,000 (the US median full-time income) gets you a combined effective rate, before deductions, of: 16% in Dallas, 20% in LA, 23% in Portland, 16% in Seattle, 24% in NYC, and 22% in Boise.

In Seattle, Miami, or Dallas, you'll pay a combined 36% on one million dollars in income.


> Which worker bees are paying 35-50%?

Lots of people in Europe. Which for sure is also a big market for FB. In Germany you are already have deductions of nearly 50% if your income is around 50000€.


I do not see how a person making 50k € in Germany would have a gross/net difference of 50 %.

According to [1], the gross/net difference would be about 34 % in the worst case (highest tax class, no children, not married etc.), which includes social security, health insurance and so on. The calculator gives realistic results for my own income.

[1] https://www.brutto-netto-rechner.info/


If I enter 50k there, and a tax class 1, then I end up with

Netto: 2.456,06 € 29.472,66 €

which means 40% deductions. Which is approximately what I meant (yes, 50% was slightly too high).


You have to enter a value in the tax allowance field ("Jährl. Steuerfreibetrag"). The first 9000 € (if not married) a year are not taxed.


At 50k you are paying between 10-15% income tax.


> Which worker bees are paying 35-50%?

With the “and other witholdings” it's pretty easy to hit, as typical withholdings beyond income tax include state and federal payroll taxes, employee share of group health insurance and HSA withholdings, pre-tax parking withholdings, retirement contributions, etc.


You are not including all the other taxes and withholdings that serve to raise that percentage. Personal income tax is only one -- disability, medicare, state tax, and so on. Total tax burden to all parties needs to be no more than 20% or so.

If the government here offered a quality of life equivalent to what I experienced living in western europe I'd be fine with it. But we are not getting my 35% worth of government service


You're not including payroll, sales, or property taxes, though.


Even making $100K+ in Cali puts you around 38% fed + state income tax.


> Even making $100K+ in Cali puts you around 38% fed + state income tax.

No, it doesn't.

It put you—in 2017, the number is lower in 2018—assuming no deductions—at a combined 37.3% marginal rate, but a substantially lower overall rate.


My total outlay for 2017 was around 35%, taking 1 deduction, and my income is near that $100k mark. And I still had to fork over an extra $600 on tax day.


On California state plus federal income taxes (the claim I was responding to) that's simply impossible even if you refer to AGI and not gross income before deductions. If you are including some other taxes, such as payroll taxes, it's possible but not the claim I was responding to.


FB paid 43% in Q4 '17. Corporate taxes aren't the same as individuals.


I don't think the effects of the privacy issues are completely reflected, given they happened towards the tail end of the quarter. That said, I don't think it's going to make a huge dent in the user metrics. Advertising revenue and usage however will be interesting over the next few quarters.


According to this, Wall Street is still concerned:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/24/facebook-may-make-tons-of-mo...

Facebook has begun running TV ads to counter anti-Facebook sentiment:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/25/17280902/facebook-ad-abou...

They have also replaced their chief privacy officer with a former FCC chairman.


You're totally right. The issue is although people are promoting #deleteFacebook, there's no other alternatives with widespread adoption to replace each person's Facebook network.

Having said that, there's movers in the space - we just need more adoption. I'm looking at a new wave of products like Sociall to step up: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/sociall

Though maybe there's already existing products out there that could pivot to claim some of facebook's space.


It would be interesting to know the active amount of users per day. I connect to fb once a month, so even a person like me, not using it at all except to see if someone has sent a message or so, is in the stats.

However, I can't see how I increase their revenues with that one 60 seconds (or less) session per month. And I am quite sure there are lots of people doing the same.


Better metric than active user count is how much time those users spend on FB (and how many Ads they get shown).

Many users don't delete their accounts, but keep using messenger only. Messenger still works even if you disable your account (but others will not be able to find you by search).


The decline may have a long tail.

I was also blown away at their low effective tax rate.


I don't think that information can be clearly determined yet, we need to wait until Q2 earnings as the big push of people deleting facebook happened after Q1 ended.


Tax is on profit, not revenue. Granted, still $5B.

Also, the tax figures have seasonality. Q4 is highest, Q1 is lowest. This quarter's effective rate was up by 100 basis pts yoy.


DeleteFacebook is mostly western, specifically an American thing. Their user growth is most happening in other developing markets (non-Europe and non USA).


In the Netherlands, it was definitely in the mainstream media. (Pushed by Arjen Lubach, a late night show host.)

Some coverage, subtitled:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa-SzNepsA


Yes. I'm from Sweden and have seen zero about this except for a in a few tech communities like parts of reddit and HN. From my outsider perspective it feels like people in the bubble thinking everyone is on board while in reality th large majority outside of the bubble doesn't even know there is a discussion.


Perhaps this is related to why the company is being sued over its tax evasion strategies.

https://www.plainsite.org/dockets/304jmbv5l/california-north...


> FB only pay effectively 11% tax

It's the same for Google. Might be a weird one-off due to the new tax law.

https://abc.xyz/investor/pdf/2018Q1_alphabet_earnings_releas...


Facebook only started deploying its developer API and advertiser changes a couple of weeks ago, which means it already got most of its revenue, if not all of it (depending on how Facebook receives the money and accounts for it) by the time they closed the Q1 quarter.

You also can't expect to see the full impact of Cambridge Analytica scandal so soon. Let's see what happens over the next 12 months. Facebook engagement was already in free-fall last year, and I imagine a lot of people disengaged with Facebook after this scandal, and they plan on using it much less in the future, even if they don't actually delete their accounts. Eventually all of these scandals (as well as the future ones) will catch-up with Facebook.

http://buzzsumo.com/blog/facebook-engagement-brands-publishe...


There's no such thing as bad publicity, the latest incidents are no exception. This has probably been a benefit to the company overall as I feel it was becoming less of a focus in peoples lives until we all had to discuss the platform again.


They also probably haven't repatriated most of the cash earned overseas (on which they paid the low taxes) so they can't really use it. If they did, you'd see a different effective tax rate.


>Also to note, FB only pay effectively 11% tax on some 12 billion dollars worth of revenue.

Interesting this is the exact same number Google posted yesterday. I guess I should just incorporate myself for tax purposes. Sure must be nice.


That would be a great way to subject yourself to double taxation.


I think the #deleteFacebook thing will blow over. But we have yet to see its impact. The Cambridge Analytica story happened near the end of the quarter and we don't yet know its real impact.


Well, even though I did not delete FB, my usage has gone way down. I reckon I spend about 5 minutes/day on FB today, down from about 30 min/day a year ago.


Still have those cookies active when browsing normally?


> My main takeaway from this is that #deleteFacebook has been a flash in the pan-- their active user count is still increasing across all regions

I don't know. Think I've observed a general drop in engagement in my relatively well-off and educated social circle. If Facebook dies, it's not going to be sudden. #deletefacebook type-stuff may be more akin to lifestyle advertising than the buy-it-now kind.


Who knows what gaming mechanisms they could have in place to artificially inflate numbers, it could even be a third-party that somehow knows how much of an increase in user signups they need to stay on an upward course. With the level of bad acting linked to Cambridge Analytica, really anything is plausible if it's a method to maintain control via manipulating appearances, etc.


Maybe. What you're describing would mean prison for anyone involved, though, which makes me skeptical. Not saying it's definitely false (I have no way of knowing), and certainly white-collar crime happens. But that would be a very high-stakes move.


Eh, did you read what WF was found doing recently? When money matters, at executive level, it doesn't really look like they care about law, human lives (that FB memo), etc.


That's what I'm saying though, up until a month ago I would have been more skeptical and err on the side of doubt too, however did you see the hidden camera recording of the Cambridge Analytica CEO by Channel 4's investigation? I imagine comments like his, and hopefully evidence can be found, that will lead to prison time for him and others.

There are clearly very intelligent people and seemingly without a conscience, and who even admit that they would do things in untraceable ways, including in part under and between different company names; not a stretch to imagine activities happen on no books with no trackable gain given in exchange -- or even in plain sight however people erring on the side of doubt and disbelief. We have the evidence smacking us in the face every day though. The result of Cambridge Analytica's activities, seemingly along with Russia's help - directly or indirectly I'm not sure, is getting someone like Trump into office, along with apparently winning elections in other nations around the world.

I'd say very high-stakes they're playing for, positioning someone in as President of the United States to align with Russian motives, along with the shit going on with Syria and nerve agents actively being used.

It's certainly rallying the world to align for good, to align for accountability - against those who are acting bad.


The median salary package at FB is $240,430[1]. Now I understand how that is possible.

1. http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-median-pay-240000-20...

edit: salary package (salary, bonuses, and stock grants), not salary alone


It's a slightly misleading figure because it includes all the stock grants given in 2017. From the proxy statement:

> we calculated as actual salary paid to our employees for 2017 [...], actual bonus or sales commission earned by our employees in 2017, and the value of equity awards granted to our employees in 2017

Specifically, if you joined in 2017 the value of your entire initial stock grant was used. This skews the median quite a bit. For example, if I joined Facebook in 2017 at $150,000 and received a $400,000 RSU stock grant vesting over four years my median annual income for the purposes of these SEC calculations was $550,000 (even though most of that is in stock vesting over the next four years).


> For example, if I joined Facebook in 2017 at $150,000 and received a $400,000 RSU stock

But over 2018, FB would book $0 of that RSU even though you vested $100k worth.


Not very misleading though, because if you got $1000 in RSUs in 2017, you probably get a similar amount in 2018.


Does that mean you have to pay income tax on it in 2017 even though its not fully realized until possibly 2021?


You don't get taxed when they are granted. That would be pretty rough, because a lot of people get several years of RSUs granted when they join a company.

When the RSUs vest, they are taxed as income. If you hold on to the shares for a while before selling them, and they increase in value, you'll pay capital gains taxes when you sell them.


You pay income tax on RSUs as they vest.


What if an employee quits after 1 year? Does facebook count that as negative salary?


Not to mention the UK tax on it


Dang, thats a lot of money. Though last year was a great year for stocks in general, I wonder how much that would change in a bear market.


Is that truly salary? Or total compensation?


TC, almost certainly. Otherwise I need to quit and get rehired :)


"Median pay package", which I assume includes base salary, bonuses, stock grants, insurance, and some dollar value for other benefits.


from the article: salary, bonuses, and stock grants.


from the article: "That's total compensation, which includes salary, bonus, and stock grants."


Slide #3 & #5 are super interesting.

US/Canada is ~10% MAU but generates ~50% of the overall revenue.

I wonder why US generates so much revenue compared to its small user base


This is true not just for Facebook. Consumer spending per person in US is very high compared to many other countries in the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_consumer_marke...

The businesses that wants to run ads also spend a lot. Its also true for Enterprise Software to some extent. I work for an enterprise software company and despite having had a decade of presence and having been founded in Europe, 70% of our revenue is from USA.

While I don't have numbers to back it up, personally from my experience, I see Americans spending a lot (sometimes more credit than savings itself) compared to other developed nations.


People don't understand how much wealthier the US is than most of the Western World. I realize, and please don't harp on, the fact that healthcare and college aren't free here, but the median German makes the less money than the median income in all but 9 states, and it becomes substantially more unequal when you look at PPP.

https://mises.org/wire/if-sweden-and-germany-became-us-state...

Now, if you want to talk about Quality of Life, instead of per capita income, I think there's probably a lot more going for the EU - much lower crime, better infrastructure, less absurd politics, more vacation. I'd definitely live in Nice over Minnesota, and I love Minnesota.


There isn't lower crime in the EU. The EU has between a higher rate or a similar rate of violent crime and crime in general vs the US (varying depending on which country you're talking about). The US rate of crime compares well to most developed nations. [1] The US has a far higher murder rate thanks to its policies on gun regulation.

There is not less absurd politics in the EU. It's every bit as crazy over there right now. See: Italy, Hungary, the extreme right in the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Denmark's recent policies on immigrant ghettos, and on and on.

The EU includes a lot of mid-tier countries. Poor people in the US get free healthcare and average welfare benefits that are far higher than the median incomes of all the mid-tier nations in the EU. The OECD better life index has persistently indicated that the US poor live better than the poor in any other nations except for half a dozen or so (such as Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland). In the US it's primarily the 20% group above the poorest 20%, that do the worst compared to other developed nations - they often make too much money to qualify for free healthcare, their income potential is weak, their education opportunities are weak, they suffer much higher rates of bankruptcy, and they often don't qualify fully for traditional assistance programs (housing or food).

[1] https://www.vox.com/2015/8/27/9217163/america-guns-europe

[1a] http://news.gallup.com/poll/21346/crime-rate-lower-united-st...


>thanks to its policies on gun regulation

Citation needed.


Read that vox article he linked.


This isn't wikipedia :)


Certain advertising only exists in the US, specifically Pharma DTC ads.

If you remove prescription drug ads from US TV, you'd get a similar picture.


Source?


If you compare to Europe, most economic factors are similar. There are significantly more ads on television, billboards, even benches, but if anything, that would mean more surface to compete with Facebook. Small and medium companies are more likely to advertise, too -- but again, that doesn’t explain how large the difference is. There is more inequality which means more disposable income overall but not an order of magnitude more.

I have not looked at it when I worked for Facebook, so this is pure speculation, but I would suspect that this is due to saturation and data quality:

- ads are auctioned off at the equivalent of a second price meaning, an ad buyer pays enough to compensate for the second best offer (compensating for expected conversion); if you look at the revenue as a function of ratio of ads to customers, that means that there is a discontinuity when (targeted) ads become more common than available slots: they bid against each other and not against poorly targeted ads, raising the second price;

- ad targeting: there are more specific targeting options in the US; I was very taken aback to see ethic background was one (at the request of minority advocacy groups, actually); I suspect that gender orientation is; a third party was also offering income-level (an option now discontinued after the CA scandal); there are more. Better targeting allows far more valuable ads, but higher value per clic but also a higher conversion, which means a higher auction level (bid * estimated conversion).


Because a lot of things are very expensive in the US compared to other countries (eg. healthcare, school / college education, defense, public infrastructure etc). Basically, any time you see articles complaining about runaway costs about anything in the US, see where that money goes. While some of it goes to shareholders of those companies, a significant fraction also go towards higher salaries and benefits.


The reason is because advertisers are willing to spend more targeting a US user who had an average annual income of $50k where as one in India may have $5k. The user is 10x more valuable from a revenue standpoint so the cost you’re willing to bear to advertise to them is 10x etc


The richest country?


Apart from the "domestic" bias, the US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the money (share of nominal GDP).


Things in general are much more expensive in the U.S. compared with other countries. Ads included.


Are you comparing to just impoverished countries? Nearly everything is more expensive in Europe due to VAT.


That is absolutely not true.


At the same time, it is not absolutely untrue. I never said every single thing and every single country.


Not in comparison with some countries north of the US, though.


It's just currency exchange rates. Europe has similarly out of proportion revenue.


The advertisers are there.


May we please rename this to "Slides of Facebook Q1 2018 Earnings [pdf]"?

There's ambiguity in the current title with the idea of the earnings sliding (which they didn't).


I read it that way as well, was going to comment that yes quarterly earning were down from Q4, but year over year Q1 is up a lot. Sliding uphill...


I saw this post for an hour before I realized I had misread the title.


That's crazy. Their net income is almost the same as Google's with 1/3rd the number of employees. I am surprised that they have 25k employees now, wow!


Reported 2018 Q1 Net Income:

  Alphabet: $9.4 Billion [0]
  Facebook: $5.0 Billion [1]
[0] https://abc.xyz/investor/pdf/2018Q1_alphabet_earnings_releas...

[1] https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/2018/Q1...


Alphabet's net income will drop dramatically in the next quarter.

Google's VC investments booked a ton of gains all-at-once in the quarter (due to an accounting change) which won't be recurring. About $2.4bn added to net income.


Net income is not that useful of a metric since both companies are still growing.


Isn't it odd that DAUs/MAUs is consistently 66% in every quarter? Is this a property of the typical use patterns of Facebook, or something they estimated for SEC purposes?

EDIT: Also interesting to me that US/NA makes up ~12% of users but ~60% of ad and payment revenue - a sort of downshifted Pareto principle.


Alphabet sees a similar tilt. They got 47% of their revenue from the US in 2017. From what I've read I'd guess they have 200 million to 225m product users in the US market and probably 1.5 billion to 2b outside of it.


Are instagram revenues included the revenue numbers?

Are instagram dau included the dau numbers?

If not, anyone know how to back out those metrics?


From a footnote on those slides:

> The numbers for DAUs and MAUs do not include Instagram, WhatsApp, or Oculus users unless they would otherwise qualify as such users, respectively, based on their other activities on Facebook.


For DAU, not "unless they would otherwise qualify as such users" from their activity on Facebook, see footnote on slides 2 and 3


What is your privacy worth to you? It's worth $100 / year to FB, and it probably costs you twice that much. (Assuming you live in the US.)

The average US user is worth > $100 / year now (forward looking) in advertising revenue.

Advertising works because it increases spending on products by some larger amount. Say this is 2x since there is significant risk and a lot of friction to overcome.

This means that on average, a US person spends something like $200 a year because they saw ads on FBs network.

This is simply astounding. Assuming 300m US users, this works out to $60b per year.

Kind of the opposite of free.


>This means that on average, a US person spends something like $200 a year because they saw ads on FBs network.

As much as I hate ads, this is a very poor way of understanding how advertising works.


How do you interpret an earnings slide? They seem to have a stronger Q4 YoY - presumably due to increased ad spending leading up to the holiday buying season, with a retraction every Q1. There was an 8% decline from Q4'16 to Q1'17 and only a 7% decline from Q4'17 to Q1'18.


Sorry, the I misread the title, it's literally the "slides" (slide deck) of Q1 earnings. Not a observation on a decline in earnings.


Got a chuckle out of this. :)


$16B in FCF in 2017

Thats what you call "printing cash".


I've been long FB for a very long time now, and took the recent dip to grab some more. People can complain about Facebook in terms of privacy all they want, but as a company they are killing it.


>People can complain about Facebook in terms of privacy all they want, but as a company they are killing it.

Should make for a nice tombstone.


I think I'll survive.


The question is whether that can justify a valuation 30 times as large.


They're tracking to around a likely ~$23 billion in net income for 2018. That's a 20 PE three quarters out.

That's for 50% sales growth, 63% net income growth. That's a bargain in this market.

Microsoft has hardly net grown its income in a decade and it's sporting a 30 PE; nearly all of their valuation increase the last five years is multiple inflation. Coca Cola has a 30 PE ratio and nearly zero growth for a decade. The same for McDonald's. Boeing has a ~25 forward PE ratio for ~10% growth. Walmart is getting a mid 20s PE for barely any growth. The same pattern holds true across most of the traditional blue chips. It's even worse for other tech companies, the PE ratios there are hilariously inflated, from Workday or Salesforce to nVidia to Activision to Netflix & Amazon.

If anything Facebook is considerably undervalued here vs the wider market. (note: I have no position in Facebook)


> That's a bargain in this market.

When this market changes, some of these companies might suffer more than the others. What is going to happen to advertising budgets (practically their only source of revenue) in the next recession? Facebook also faces higher regulatory and reputational risk (in the US and elsewhere) that most of those companies. But of course compared to Netflix it looks incredibly undervalued!

Edit: to be clear, I agree that Facebook's valuation is more reasonable than it used to be and more reasonable than other "similar" companies (but not without its own risks). By the way, it will be interesting to see how the sentiment around different sectors changes in September when a number of companies currently in IT and Discretionary/Media will be reclassified into the Communications sector.


> What is going to happen to advertising budgets (practically their only source of revenue) in the next recession

There's a general theory that advertising is a zero-sum game. In other words, as a percent of GDP it has neither grown or subtracted significantly since it's wide spread use. This effectively means that new media (FB/Google/etc) is simply taking market share away from other disparate providers. If anything, a recession will only accelerate that trend. When companies are faced with re-thinking their ad spend and realize that their eyeballs are no longer in print/radio, it serves as an easy to stomach switching cost decision.

[0] - https://stratechery.com/2016/the-reality-of-missing-out/


Advertising spending went down over 10% in 2009 compared to 2008 (I thought it was more than that). In that kind of environment Facebook might still gain share but growth and margins are likely to suffer. And Facebook/Google represent already one third of the advertising business in the US, they can only increase market share up to a point.


> Advertising spending went down over 10% in 2009 compared to 2008

Well ya, it's directly correlated to the general economy. The economy tanked in 2009. But that's my point, that 10% dip is going to cause everyone to reevaluate their advertising budgets and shift to more efficient spend.

https://www.vox.com/2015/9/18/9351759/ad-blocking-controvers...

> growth and margins are likely to suffer.

> they can only increase market share up to a point

Why? There's still 2/3rds to grab. Thats A LOT.


Generally in harder economic times advertising retreats to the most successful platforms. At the moment that is Google and Facebook.

Negative market conditions also give companies like FB a better chance to buy up competition.


Can anyone explain why their operating margin is seemingly seasonal, improving through the year?

And damn, that tax rate is insanely low. Looks like they're settling into around 10% effective tax. Average across profitable companies is ~25% according to an NYU study I linked to below. Damn.

www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/pc/datasets/taxrate.xls


Advertising is generally seasonal as it's a lot more common for people to spend money around the holidays than it is for them to spend money in Q1. Therefore, fewer companies buy advertising in Q1 because the audience of people who will buy their product is smaller. There are a few exceptions to this rule (Mcdonalds, Coke, etc), and they only do that because their business model is essentially to advertise so much you think about them subconsciously. If they stopped advertising for 3 months, this trick would lose a lot of power.

This isn't limited to ads btw, when I used to work at a restaurant we'd be noticeably slower during Q1 because people had less money saved (or were more aware of how much they have been spending lately). Similarly, when I worked retail our store "goals" were much lower as well (they usually picked up again late spring/early summer).


My uninformed guess would be the seasonality is related to holiday spending. Slides 5 and 6 show revenues by user location and Asia-pacific doesn't consistently spike in Q4, while N. America and Europe seem to follow this pattern.

Either that or accounting practices that go way above my head...


Interesting - Appendix claims 13% of MAUs are duplicate or fraudulent accounts.


What really got me is the average revenue per user in US & Canada is $23.59, compared to less than half of that for Europe ($8.12).



In the meantime at the Sohn conference Jeffrey Gundlach said FB is a bubble:

http://fortune.com/2018/04/23/facebook-bubble-gundlach/


Key takeaway: Wall Street doesn’t care about manufactured outrage. At least not in the longer term.


Find it strange that Europe has 1.8x the users of the US but only 40% of the revenue.


Clearly you don't work in advertising, my friend :-)


Care to elaborate?


The costs to advertisers (per impression, click, action) are all much higher in the US market than EMEA.


Yes, but why? Is there not an arbitrage opportunity here? Are European advertisers paying less? Are Americans more gullible?


GDP per capita. US/North America consumers earn & spend more.


Not quadruple.


"The GDP per capita (PPP) was $37,800 in 2015,[4] compared to $57,084 in the US."

Definitely not quadruple, but taking into account a number of other things - like online spending - ecommerce etc, it's not hard to see. I also believe (no proof, gut feeling) the metrics are similar for appstore purchases.


Some of that is because there's a vast economic gulf there.

For reference, the EU minus the UK has a GDP per capita of about $33,000. The US is at $60,000.

Europe as a whole (minus Turkey), has a GDP per capita of about $27,000. The total European economy is very similar in size to the US at roughly $20 trillion. There's $14.5 trillion inside the EU minus the UK, and about $5.5 trillion outside of it.


Interesting to note that usage and income peaked in late 2017, yet earnings per share continues to rise unabated.

When there is too much shareholder pressure to extract money from struggling companies, those companies tend to struggle.


Peaked? The yearly cycle peaks during Q4 because of the holiday season.


Why is FB advertising revenue per user almost 3x higher in US&Canada vs Europe: $23.14 vs $8.01

Is it because of Europe being more restrictive on how much user data can be used for advertising?


It has to do with (mostly, directly) with GDP per capita. American consumers earn & spend much more than europeans. NA also consumes much more than the rest of the world.


The laws in the UK are already far more restrictive than our American cousins when it comes to advertising. “traffic data” and “location data" are already covered by the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC.

Source: http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/differences-privacy-la...


How'd the effective tax rate from Q3'17 go from 10% to 43% in Q4'17, and then back to 11% in Q1'18?


From the Q4 Earnings Report, it looks like it was a one-time tax on foreign earnings:

> 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

On December 22, 2017, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Tax Act) was enacted into law and the new legislation contains several key tax provisions that affected us, including a one-time mandatory transition tax on accumulated foreign earnings and a reduction of the corporate income tax rate to 21% effective January 1, 2018, among others. We are required to recognize the effect of the tax law changes in the period of enactment, such as determining the transition tax, remeasuring our U.S. deferred tax assets and liabilities, and reassessing the net realizability of our deferred tax assets and liabilities. In December 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, Income Tax Accounting Implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (SAB 118), which allows us to record provisional amounts during a measurement period not to extend beyond one year of the enactment date. As a result, our provision for income taxes increased by $2.27 billion and our diluted EPS decreased by $0.77 for both the fourth quarter and full year 2017. Since the Tax Act was passed late in the fourth quarter of 2017, and ongoing guidance and accounting interpretation are expected over the next 12 months, we consider the accounting of the transition tax, deferred tax re-measurements, and other items to be provisional due to the forthcoming guidance and our ongoing analysis of final year-end data and tax positions. We expect to complete our analysis within the measurement period in accordance with SAB 118.

[link] https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/...


Probably from one-time repatriation


TL;DL:

1) Revenues are inversely proportional to number of active users, hinting at cultural differences (e.g. US users may be more exposed to ads than EU users)

2) Overall income has fallen, but so have taxes and operating margin, leading to higher net income and earnings per share.


So wait... In the US, my "value" to facebook is about $100 a year? (~24/q rounded up)

Can I subscribe to facebook and opt out of all advertising and any data sharing exposure with third-parties? That is totally worth $8-10/mo to me.

Edit: I get it. You don't like this idea, or you don't think it will work, or you don't think facebook's investors will like it (full disclosure: I am one). Why on earth should that stop me from putting my obviously flawed opinion out there that I am sick of being the product and I'd love to opt out of that process?


Since you are willing to pay $100/year not to see ads, you are probably the sort of person who is worth much more than $100/year to Facebook and its advertisers.


Wait, care to elaborate? I'd assume it's the other way around; people who don't want to see ads are probably less likely to click on them and drive revenue, no?


He's in a financial position to afford $10 a month for the relative luxury of not being served ads, meaning he has a relatively large disposable income, meaning he's the kind of person I would want to advertise to.


In addition, his disposition for avoiding ads likely means he is running ad blocking, and thus already minimizing his ad exposure. This presents a less crowded field where any ads he does see may have a larger impact on his buying behavior.


Ah gotcha, yeah that makes sense.


The problem is that the rev/user isn't constant. If they get more users, they earn more from each user. And conversely, if they lose users, they earn less from everyone. So even if a small percentage of their users opted to pay monthly, that would have a negative impact on facebook's earnings on the remaining population.


Exactly. An individual user isn't worth a lot, the network is.


I don't think that's what that number means. If you paid that value in dollars, then Facebooks revenue-tie-to-network effects is gone. Facebook currently has the ability to 'innovate' on the data you provide and presumably convince investors that the value will rise over time due to Facebook's own engineering talent. On the other hand, if you are paying a flat fee, the entirety of Facebook's business model falls flat - that it can increase that value without you knowing. Could Facebook survive a price increase from subscriptions at $10/month to $100/month? Probably not. Could Facebook engineer another 10x return on your data? Probably.

So no, you can't subscribe. It wouldn't work.


I'd flip it around. What if Facebook paid me $$ to use it? Perhaps they could have different incentive tiers in exchange for sharing additional info.


They do pay you ... in kind. They built a way to share photos, send messages, etc etc


I thought that was the end game originally - reward users with cash for self providing information companies usually need to pay survey companies to get.


Why pay users when they give it to you for free?


Why does Facebook spend money on employees then?


Presumably Facebook employees would work else where if they weren't paid.


My point was that what people aren't giving their info to Facebook for free, Facebook has to spend money on their employees to create something which people then want to use resulting in them getting information.


Funny, my only problem with this comment is the edit itself.


Yeah I can't see anyone saying he can't put his opinion out there.


Well I think about 50-100 million users in world would be looking to have paid account. Since those are valuable customers who would definitely not want to have invasive, tracking advertisements and advertisers definitely want to target them. The only way it would work is if FB totally does away with advertising.

With current numbers the way it could work is if those users make annual commitment of at least 500-1000 USD or 200-400 dollars / quarter.

So the users with loud ethical voice and concerns about negative affects of advertising can save the world from this whole tracking business by committing about 1000 dollars a year.


> I am sick of being the product and I'd love to opt out of that process

You can opt out. Don't use Facebook.


That's only possible once shadow profiles no longer exist.


Don’t worry about shadow profiles. CCTV cameras already document you just fine.


[flagged]


With privacy, unless you solve all the problems you’re just cutting heads off a hydra.


Your "value" to facebook is going up at 25% per year.

In 5 years, it should be $24-30/month


And in 50 years it should be $2.3M/month. Unless this growth isn't sustainable...


It won't sustain 25% annual growth for 50 years.

But the advertising market is enormous (see Google's growth in the past 5 years) and Facebook has a lot of room to grow its share.


The problem for Facebook is that it is really not worth that much for many users. Even if they charge $10/year many would dump it.


I get many/most prefer to be the product than the customer. I, however, would love the option to switch.


I guess it wouldn't hurt to give options. I think Google has given this option for their ad network... I wonder how many people subscribe to that.


To the best of my understanding, you can opt out of personalized ads with google, but not all ads. At least for the search product.

For email, one can pay for their google apps tier, which doesn't have ads, but it is obviously targeted to business users, so the value prop is completely different anyway.


> To the best of my understanding, you can opt out of personalized ads with google, but not all ads. At least for the search product.

You can install uBlock Origin in all your devices.


One of these things is not like the other...


Have you also considered that the users who would love the option to switch for $100 may be worth much more to them?


Feel free to start your own Facebook clone and charge $100 a year for no ads and see how successful that is.


As ridiculous as that sounds, does it really cost $100 per user per year to build a Facebook clone?


I don’t think you risk much data exposure now.

That’s, assuming that you are not using AirBnB, Uber or Tinder.


What if you could sell the data to a third party for $10+ dollars? (I’m working on a project to do this )

Also, you would need your friends to opt out too? Or at least turn on timeline review.

It seems paradoxical to share your information and also require it to be private .


Personally, I would not sell access to my data.

Re friends opting out, no, you would just need the system to exclude individuals who have the opt-out attribute from the graph search. But I do also have timeline review turned on and have for years.

I get that I am probably a minority user of Facebook, in that I have very customized security and privacy settings. To me, there has always been value in choosing with whom to share certain information. It isn't a global binary function.


My reasoning about the opt-out attribute not being followed would be if you are friends with someone else and they share information about you wouldn't you want that information to be private? Or would you just prefer to use the timeline review feature for all of your friends content that they would share.

What if you weren't tagged properly also and your friends share information about you? Then hypothetically your information would be available on Facebook.

Thanks for answering my questions!


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