1. Turn off notifications for the Facebook app on your phone;
2. Turn off notifications for the Facebook Messenger, Instagram, et cetera apps on your phone;
3. Delete the Facebook app from your phone;
4. Delete the Facebook Messenger, Instagram, et cetera apps from your phone; and finally
5. Log out of Facebook on your desktop.
It took me 2 years to go through from step 1 to step 5. It has made me happier and more productive. I still have a Facebook account. But the friction of grabbing my laptop and logging in forces me to consider "is this what I want to do? Or am I thoughtlessly reaching for the crack pipe?"
I want a social network that encourages human interaction in the real world - not one that turns friends into enemies, feeds narcissism, and provides a platform for corporations and hostile governments to spy on us and manipulate us. Facebook cannot and will not ever be that network.
Well this is a site for startups. It seems like you have a good initial idea/problem and/or need. Now the next hard part is concieving and implementing a solution.
There's peer-to-peer networks already though I doubt any of them will be a Facebook replacement. It does provide a solution in part to the spying and data mining (obviously whatever you decide to put out there is free to be harvested).
So how do you encourage human interaction, perhaps meeting, and build constructive discussions?
Unfortunately I'm afraid some of that might just be choosing to predominantly interact with people that are also like that. Although a technologal solution would still be valuable.
Aha, I'm already moving onto implementation. I've been thinking about this for a while. Maybe I'll be one of the next billionaires in tech ;-)
That said, I don't know how you would monetize a system like that.
Furthermore would you really want to?
Seems to me part of Facebook's (and other popular social media platforms) growth is attracting advertisers with access to user data personalization.
Consequencently this set up leads to people (at least geeks/nerds) boycotting or giving up on Facebook due to information mining and obnoxious advertising.
Then those aforementioned nerds/geeks make something new that begins the cycle over again.
My personal intuition is that the simplest forms of communication (defined as exchanging data between two or more participants) shouldn't be _directly_ monetized.
If we compare to physical communications means and services, there's an obvious yet powerful realization to make: communication is free (from any third-party) so long as it's distributed (i.e. when you and I talk, we take it upon ourselves to spend the energy required to communicate, we don't need a middleman), whereas it becomes a paid-for service when it's centralized (e.g. post office, telephone system, nowadays internet).
Notice that in the physical world, most (centralized) communication businesses are monetizing a more-or-less public container, which operates as a black box for the (de facto) private content. — e.g. package, letter, phone conversation.
Translate this into the digital world: email, file storage and exchange, chats and calls. So far, to my knowledge, most of the popular solutions have been centralized and therefore, monetized (notable exception are bittorrent or IRC, the protocols, widely used as a consequence, but rather nerdy to the general pop, which I think has to do with UX).
Simply put there's a business behind most of the middlemen (Fb, Gmail, Skype…), few solutions rely strictly on tech that anyone can freely operate: you need that central server authentication to reach other users in the walled garden, and neither 'speaks' to others (can't use app X to speak to someone using app Y).
Back to my personal intuition, there is an increasingly higher chance that someone comes up with a decentralized communication system wherein users each bear the cost/energy required to communicate, based on a free protocol (as in beer, it needs not be OSS, although probably should for security/trust purposes).
Think Bittorrent for data specific to communication. The internet in itself, with requests being free (POST GET etc), is such an example of a distributed architecture which you enter simply by leveraging the correct tech; there is no gatekeeper. Blockchains might be another good example of distributed systems (even ignoring cryptocurrencies and focusing on the distributed database tech).
It's a general trend, I think, that we progressively massively distribute technology-based services starting with the most fundamental, the closest to "first principles" for the purpose. Think about printing, how it started with Gutenberg, what a single individual can do today. It takes decades, centuries, these are deeper trend. However, as fast as things go in this day and age, I think communication is just about to be disrupted _forever_ by virtue of massively distributing the means. Just like printers. Or file exchange.
Now, I'm trying to do my part. I'm working on building Mutambo (https://www.mutambo.net) which is focused on helping everyone play recreational sports. To avoid becoming the Facebook for sports, a high priority goal of ours is to minimize the time you spend in app – to get you to your sporting events as efficiently as possible.
I waste a lot more time and witness a lot more drama on HN than Facebook.
I decided I didn't want or need that in my life, so I've dropped it in favor of arguing with people I don't care about on Reddit instead. So much more time for Reddit now!
I haven't missed a single thing.
I realized Facebook had become the digital equivalent of walking into the kitchen and opening the fridge. You know what's inside, but you still end up looking.
Most "friends" unfollowed except a handful of close people. Some less connected but more interesting people pop up in the feed for a bit but then get put back in 30 day snooze with their first new less-than-interesting post.
I won't interact with posts that are world-viewable, but might like or comment on some that are more restricted.
This brings it down to just one or two posts a day in my facebook tab. Something I can spend one or two minutes on in the morning or evening. I mostly see my sister's new baby, and that's fine :)
For no valid technical reason I'm aware of, they removed the ability to view messages in the standard mobile site. It used to work, and frankly it worked really well. But I'm sure the engagement and quantity of data they sucked up were orders of magnitude better with Facebook Messenger.
That said, I remain invested in FB, since my hypothesis was that 'a majority of people are not like me'. Looks like I am being proven wrong, but let's see the long term impact.
1. Unsubscribe everyone's feed. This way when you open FB all you see is a blank feed.
I only look at my phone to see if there are new messages a few times a day, usually right after I've done an email check (I don't keep an email client permanently available either unless I'm in a rare window when I have to be quickly reachable).
The few extra steps it takes me to log in on my laptop mean that I check FB two or three times a week - down from two-three times an hour. When I do use it, I usually scroll through invites (the only real reason that I wouldn't delete my account).
The gradual de-escalation works well because social media does have real value but it's a good idea to test what that value is against the attention costs it imposes.
Also, there's no reason for a "starter message" and prompt when I add a friend.
I once went through a long tedious process of manually deleting posts and photos and after a while I got a very increased interaction on older images, not newer. Interaction from people who wouldn't normally comment, either.
> “But as I’ve said on past calls, we’re investing so much in security that it will significantly impact our profitability,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re starting to see that this quarter.”
That sounds like a big 1-year jump. From what I can tell, the big Facebook scandals (fake news, Cambridge Analytica) came from faults in company policies rather than security glitches.
I wonder if labeling it "security" is a PR thing as their web ads all focus on FB taking active steps to make sure those types of scandals don't happen again.
It's astonishing how different the 'media narrative' is from reality, and it confirms my belief that the press runs on such narratives (i.e. building up, crashing down) because in both directions the truth is inflated for dramatic, i.e. click-bait reasons.
Our large company built a very good FB app that effectively was 'FB' on our platform. It was FB branded - for users, it was effectively the 'real' (and only) FB. Obviously that app had to have special APIs.
Everyone involved from top to bottom was pro. We didn't store data, nor did we want or need to. The way the tech was setup (data goes to app), we didn't really have the option. Users logged into their own accounts and retrieved their data, it's not like we could just access data arbitrarily.
Everything was pro and above bar - and nobody in the equation - a lot of us regular, conscientious people - thought for a second that anything was wrong or irregular in any context.
In fact - the whole situation could be described as: "FB hired 3rd parties to develop some code", which surely they do in some circumstances.
Nobody was harmed in any way, and there really wasn't risk of anyone being harmed.
I understand that with 2018 hindsight, we might look at things a little differently, but in reality, I think we'd have still done it. Perhaps there would have been more checks and assurances (i.e. FB takes ownership of code and actually publishes the app), but in reality it was (and would still be) fine.
As far as the Cambridge story - this is also misleading because the API's that were used there were available to the entire world and everyone knew exactly what they were. Were there tech people screaming foul? The press? Not really, they seemed reasonable, until it seemed that some bad agents were getting a little unscrupulous, and so FB did the right thing and altered the APIs to make them more secure. Security polices change all the time, in this case they tightened up given some field data. That's it.
It's really a story about Cambridge's scammy behaviour, and possibly lies to FB on where that data was, not about FB.
I don't like Facebook, I don't use it, I don't like being 'productized' etc. etc. - but I don't feel that the information in these scenarios has been properly handled by the media.
Because there are legitimate issues with privacy in the new world order in 2018 that are finally coming to bear, and we definitely want to re-evaluate our situation with FB, basically, we go and dig up 'something that happened 10 years ago in which nobody was harmed' to build a 'kind of misleading narrative' around the the 'legitimate issue'.
>Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach.
Parakilas, whose job was to investigate data breaches by developers similar to the one later suspected of Global Science Research, which harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and provided the data to Cambridge Analytica, said the slew of recent disclosures had left him disappointed with his superiors for not heeding his warnings.
“It has been painful watching,” he said, “because I know that they could have prevented it.”
Parakilas said he “always assumed there was something of a black market” for Facebook data that had been passed to external developers. However, he said that when he told other executives the company should proactively “audit developers directly and see what’s going on with the data” he was discouraged from the approach.
He said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at how the data was being used, warning him: “Do you really want to see what you’ll find?”
That seems a common way of thinking. I have seen people argue against pentesting because they didn't want to know about vulnerabilities.
> the Gell-Mann amnesia effect defines the idea that "I believe everything the media tells me except for anything for which I have direct personal knowledge, which they always get wrong."
My intuition says the latter because time is money and journalists are rarely experts in the fields they cover.
Even supportive facts/quotes can cause concern. Subject matter experts have a reputation on the line, while the journalist is often just looking for a story.
I wrote, "they were significantly more likely to become defensive when I checked facts and quotes with them."
We check facts and quotes to ensure that we are being accurate and fair.
Would you prefer being misquoted? Or would you prefer having improper contact assigned to your words?
Nobody ever called me, my boss or my friends to verify this summer has been extremely hot or what my favourite food is.
Also: just getting the words correct doesn't help if you cut the part where I explained what happened.
Exactly. I'm very aware of that.
The problem is both good journalists and bad journalists call to do fact checks, -good journalists to verify they got the facts correct, bad journalists to provide legal cover before they quote you out of context to build the case they want to build anyway.
So, when someone call you and want to verify what you said I'll recommend being very sure that you get it exactly right and so clear that they cannot misunderstand you.
Defending yourself against a journalist might easily become a case of "have you stopped beating your wife? How hard can this be, yes or no?"
When people get defensive with me for being conscientious, my instinct is always to dig deeper. I'm sure that holds true for many others.
You might get them to publish a retraction (since it wasn't true) but hasn't the damage already been done?
What when those same papers write stuff that is technically true (but leave out why it was done)?: "founder sends millions to foreign bank account." "Founder declines to comment." ?
When you get negative coverage, accept it as the other side of the earned media coin. It is more effective than advertising because it has the potential to be negative. If there was never negative coverage, earned media wouldn't be worth pursuing. And, if you dig into the negative coverage, you'll often learn a lot from it. So, when you get negative coverage, email the journalist, thank them for writing about you, reaffirm that you're always available to talk, and then ignore it.
If an outlet has a history of attacking you, consider why they are attacking you and if the attacks have merit. If it's because you've been difficult in the past, you need to find a good PR person and get some media training in a hurry. You specifically want a PR person who entered the field through journalism, not marketing. Your PR person will be to work with the initial storm. If you caused the mess, you likely need to be hands off during this stage. And then, you need media training so that you don't offend a media outlet again.
It sounds like you have a rough time with media. Do you use the word 'exclusive'? If so, are you sure that you know what it means? Aside from lying, or being evasive, the best way to offend an outlet is to misuse the word.
Retractions don't happen very often, and unless you have very serious evidence, they aren't even worth going for. In the absence of serious evidence, a crafty editor will use your quest for a retraction as an excuse to keep writing about you. The goal is always to get them to stop writing, not give them reason to write more.
And frankly, publications will always write things that are technically true without adding any context. Never assume that this is because of malice because truth is, they likely don't care enough to be malicious. The sooner you get over this idea of a big, bad malicious media, the sooner you will learn how to work with them.
That is quite a misunderstanding of my position. What do you take me for?
They don't need to be all positive at all. My point just shouldn't be actively lying or misleading.
> If an outlet has a history of attacking you, consider why they are attacking you and if the attacks have merit.
Done. (And it is not about me, and I'm in a position where it would be useful for me to know if there was something.)
> It sounds like you have a rough time with media.
Personally? Not at all.
> And frankly, publications will always write things that are technically true without adding any context. Never assume that this is because of malice because truth is, they likely don't care enough to be malicious. The sooner you get over this idea of a big, bad malicious media, the sooner you will learn how to work with them.
My question is rather: how long should we accept this (i.e. baseless smear campaigns agains companies and/or individuals)?
Mostly media does a great job and I respect and actively (i.e. by donating or keeping subscriptions I don't need) support great journalism even if I don't agree with everything they write.
But sometimes some journalists are really destructive. It is those cases I'm talking about. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then at some point, shouldn't the abuse of a weaponized pen be punishable? That bar should be high, yes, but at some point (inciting hatred against nations or ethnicities using made up allegations should be a good example) I think most people would agree that society should have some way to correct it. The question is just exactly where that bar should be.
And again no, this isn't about me. Personally I never had problems with media going after me, this just happens to have bothered me over years as I've seen certain journalists go after other people for what turns out to be no good reason. I'm luckily not aware of many cases though, but what I've seen has made me hesitant to talk to media (and Gell Mann amnesia also isn't as strong as it used to be anymore either).
This sounds interesting :) any stories you're able to share on this?
News is still good. The HN front page surfaces good tech news, while reputable newspapers are still reputable in their area of expertise. Don't confuse the Gell-Mann  effect with Dunning-Kruger 
How is that not true of every single security/privacy incident, ever? If the situation was, "everyone knew 23andMe was storing non-deidentified genomic data on an unsecured S3 bucket, and this was fine until [insert villian] took it" it would be the same, and people would be justifiably pissed off. This feels like a completely correctly handled story in the media, your personal anecdote about working with Facebook notwithstanding.
This is a false equivalence. Hacker News comments are public. (HN also doesn't sell ads.) Facebook messages and private content usually aren't.
Just because "the API's that were used there were available to the entire world" doesn't mean "everyone knew exactly what they were." Everyone didn't know what they were capable of. A very small section of the technologically literate did, and most of them were profiting off the status quo.
Sure, that's not the same as public access, but it's equally blown out of proportion.
Users must be empowered to delegate access to the software of their choosing. Facebook offering read_mailbox as an option on its OAuth consent screen is exactly as evil as Fastmail offering IMAP.
Others quoted about screaming foul from within facebook. I was involved with RTB ad exchanges at the time, and everyone knew that the data is available to whomever wants it, with facebook's tacit approval.
Gabriel Weinberg (yegg) founder of duck duck go had a story on his blog about how he targeted his own wife with a facebook ad, and about how easy it is profile/get everyone's FB data, and he wasn't the only one.
Your experience may have been different; it looks to me like you'd rather look at the world through rose tinted glasses and give FB an undeserved benefit of the doubt -- but I'll accept that this was your experience. However, I have about 20:1 anecdata about "improper FB" than "proper FB", so I tend to believe the latter.
If there was one story of patents done right, does that indicate there are no patent trolls and it's all blown out of proportion?
I travel a bit. Facebook, the company, has a disproportionately vocal base of support in Silicon Valley. (This is also where the principal economic beneficiaries of Facebook's status quo live.)
Facebook giving out privileged API's willy-nilly without verifying who the people operating them really are is the issue. If a bank gave the keys to their vault to some shady people then you blame the bank.
My god man, armies of lawyers involved.
When it comes to the GP that talked about his experience - this was about platform vendors such as Apple or Blackberry having supposed "special access". But Facebook just did not release any data here. It just allowed third parties to write a Facebook app. For the most part, those apps where client-side, so the data did not leave the users device.
Now in the spirit of argument, there are a lot of aspects that can be debated: Is there a meaningful difference between code written by a contractor, but published by Facebook, an app published by a third party, but making it look like it belongs to Facebook, or a third party app without the blessing of Facebook. How does that relate to our ideas about the freedom of the internet (should anyone be allowed to create a Facebook app, without Facebook's blessing, which is certainly a technical possibility? What is the implication of Facebook's support for such an app, or lack of taking legal action against it?). What is the responsibility of companies like Facebook when having an API of the sort that they do, which prima facie allows users to decide which data to share? So about if I agree to share data, but that data is something my friend shared with me? Does Facebook have a responsibility to prevent this? Is is problem the sheer amount of data on Facebook? If I have a small online community forum, can I offer that sort of access, letting my users share their friends list with third party apps? What about apps like Twitter, Telegram asking for your permission to access your phone book. Courts in Germany have said the users agreeing to this are the ones breaking the law. What if I agree to share my contact book with an app, but that app does not upload this data to a server? How does that compare to Facebook asking a third party to provide a Facebook app, but data does not go to a third party server?
It's all interesting stuff. And I don't even ask the media to discuss it in that level of detail. They can give the 5-or-however-many foot view. But don't misrepresent that.
Gell-Mann amnesia doesn't defend the media here, right? The idea is that it is strange that you trust it after their incompetence has been proven to you.
Look, I am not a Trumpian Fake-Newser. I think it's good we have journalists. I am sure the journalists working on those Facebook stories did their best, given limited time, the breath of technical details involved, the pressures of creating content that brings in clicks, and yes, the personal vanity of wanting to uncover a big story. We are all human, after all.
CA is even one thing. But regarding the platform integrations - what GP tells from personal experience is the same thing I got from reading the reporting. It was simply misleading.
All that is beside the point. The point is that if as 'sonnyblarney indicated there a custom negotiation for every new organization that gets to peak behind the curtain, then the process is not standardized. Normal online firms have TOS and APIs, and it's possible to characterize what user data they release. For Facebook, apparently that characterization is not possible.
Not a single lawyer involved in either.
That was actually the entire point. That Facebook had these overly... generous APIs for anyone to use. That's not a good thing.
Calling them “overly generous” is such a disingenuous statement because it connotes such a clearly wrong historical perspective that the whole statement is a falsehood.
Facebook’s APIs at the time were considered too stingy at the time! So much so it was constantly fending off accusations of being a walled garden taking advantage of an open web. The less than adequate APIs were their attempts at fending off that narrative.
It's worth noting that the context around privacy of generic life information of the kind you post on social media has radically changed in the last 10-20 years.
Back then, the Facebook API gave out personal details of not use the end user, but all the end user's 'friends'. I never gave the explicit opt in for that.
Once someone knows something about you, it's no longer yours; it's that person's to do with as they please.
APIs that allow a user to delegate his access to the software he chooses are essential to the open internet. The evil behavior is not providing them.
I don't know if its different in the US but here in Europe that seems to sum up the "sexist" nature of our industry. Its true that there aren't many females in IT but when I have worked with them they have always been treated fairly and as equals to men. Their sex never seemed to enter into the equation at all.
It displays a hubris and greed that makes the lives of millions of innocent people worse, time after time. Then the tax payer bails them out when that greed backfires, as it does every single time.
It seems like most of the major banks were guilty of obviously dodgy lending and deliberately overly-omplicated financial instruments in the run up to the last recession, and they seem to be back at it again with car loans.
Animosity is to be expected I think.
In addition to willfully misleading Congress it also likely violates their 2011 FTC consent decree. Is this also just part of the 'media narrative' you claim is different from reality? I think these revelations amount to pretty "scammy behavior" as well, to borrow your terminology.
Yeah they were, and that's why the APIs were eventually shuttered. FB even secured a promise from CA that they retroactively deleted the data.
That’s the problem. It only takes one bad actor.
That being said, it made me way better at my job. No matter how many technical justifications I have for why we should implement X, the second I brought up a small to medium legal thing everyone would fix it immediately.
In almost every work environment, I've seen the policies working directly against security: if not by contradicting it, ignoring the details where the real security decisions live, or by striking the wrong balances between prescriptiveness and generality - then by out-prioritizing security decision making. (I've worked at mostly 100,000+ person companies).
It's much better to have technical security controls >80-90% of the actual security. It's just expensive and harder to teach/learn/implement.
That said, there's some real security gained by policy. It comes from:
- Ability to communicate expectations ("adopt technical solution X")
- Ability to exercise legitimized (instanciated/codified) authority
Most of the rest of the value of policy comes in as business enablement value (policies are easier to communicate to auditors than security control implementations are).
Policy can also be a useful placeholder for real security in the sense it will satisfy many external parties who might otherwise reprioritize/randomize security investments.
As an example, I’m glad that browser vendors require CAs to document their policies for issuing certificates. Let’s Encrypt does a great job of making much of this process automatic, but there’s still pieces that must be done by humans, and there’s still written policies in place for all of their operations.
At some point in any security process, human judgment comes into play. Striking the wrong balance between technical controls and allowing for human judgment can also lead to absurd outcomes, like this recent article/discussion.
If your system is doing "all the right security stuff" and then nobody knows about it - sure, you're secure - but nobody knows that or how you are secure. And that's a very significant problem both to a bureaucracy and to its customers. It's also an issue in terms of maintaining those controls over time between changes to staff and business direction.
There's a whole "secondary market" (within an organization) for security assurance, and it tends to be much more measurable than security posture.
Policies and summaries of those policies go a long way toward feeding that "assurance feeling" secondary market without draining resources from ongoing investments actual posture.
Essentially the way it works is that you develop security controls toward an ideal end state/direction and describe your direction as your policy. Any gaps auditors or your company find then become fuel for making actual changes to the underlying security posture at a technical level.
The danger of not having your policy really be disguised summaries of your actual implementation is that the various security staff become free to debate over fictional security and can convince themselves that if they mandate some changes on paper to the policy (with there being nothing technical associated whatsoever) that this has or should have some kind of real affect.
It's more dangerous still if the internal security assurance program uses its own policies or some measure of "adherence to the policies" to then measure security. What happens is that the compliance operation becomes authoritarian about adherence to policies that don't exist outside of (otherwise non-discoverable) mandate, and the company and its auditors are able to "measure" their posture by their policies and convince themselves they are secure.
The worst version of this is where its done on purpose for fraud.
Anyone who's worked at a large company can tell you how incredibly complex and expensive this can get if your systems aren't designed for this.
EG: Adding something as simple as a privilege expiration (generic example) and propagating it through the org and various teams itself will take time.
It would be difficult to incur a 50% increase in expenses without massive policy shift.
Just prior to the FB IPO, I lived about two blocks from the then CIO or CTO of FB (cant recall his name - this was just as Asana was getting a lot of buzz as well) -- and I was looking for a new apartment in Noe Valley.
I recall that a place that I saw going for $3,000 per month took an immediate jump to $7,000 per month days after the IPO and they wanted a $10,000 security deposit...
Other rents went up as well.
My overall point being, that it sucks, but is interesting, to see how tech company IPOs impact overall COL - but when comments such as "FB is hugely overvalued" are made, and instances where FBs value drops - the damage to real COL has an impact radius thats already happened and far more reaching than simply to those who benefit/suffer from their personal stock holdings' value...
Its the reality of the world/market - but lets imagine FB ceasing to exist magically... COL/rents will not adjust accordingly.
So, while I don't personally care about FB's value - I am interested in how much the entirety of COL is affected by any tech success/failure throughout silicon valley...
How are these types of factors evaluated by economists?
That said, it seems very rare my friends or family actually post anything these days. Mostly I use it for a handful of specialist groups which could just as easily be replaced with forums.
I suspect you can, with the equivalent of survivor bias. Those who can't be fooled don't have Facebook accounts.
You don't have to delete it; Just make sure it is perfectly blocked (through uBlock Origin, Disconnect, Ghostery, PiHole, etc) so they can't track you - and login in once a month or so to https://mbasic.facebook.com/ if you need to figure out someone's new phone number.
Americans and Canadians earn Facebook over 4x per user what Europeans do and over 10x what Asia Pacific users do . Facebook's user base shifting overseas implies a massive revenue drop (and corresponding adjustment to value).
That doesn't sound unrealistic.
Assuming the tenth Asian user (a) is as lucrative as the first and (b) costs 1/10th as much to provide services to as an American user, sure. I'm doubtful about those assumptions. And this is all just for treading water.
In India, for instance, Facebook is especially popular among old people like my parents, or poorer people. The former won't spent much money online because habit. The latter don't have much money to spend.
Then again it died reeeally fast right after the election, so now I'm not sure anymore.
Also, no surprise things die down after an election, since it’s not the hot topic anymore.
Astroturf seems to be a lot more lifelike these days.
To prove the point, in Myanmar the social network facebook has helped to spread hat speech that led to riots and violence between Buddhist and Moslims. https://www.wired.com/story/how-facebooks-rise-fueled-chaos-...
If you want free press, change the government, whether it's Azerbaijan or Malta, a better government is necessary.
And these aren't flattering ads either: they emphasize that I'd be joining "2 billion users" and that "it's free to sign up." They're bargain basement and have a desperate vibe.
This makes me wonder what it must be like being a marketing executive for Facebook at the moment. In advertising one usually promotes USPs and benefits to sell the product - in this case - a social media platform. The FB marketing execs must sit there thinking, how the fuck do we sell Facebook when everybody knows about Facebook, and most people know it's garbage?
This is especially true when you consider there's 7 billion or so people on the planet, and FB already has 28% of the total population using their app. They surely can't believe that they're one day going to have much more than their current market share?
I guess the 'free to sign' up and 'join 2 billion users' was the best they could manage given the circumstances.
I'd love to hear from a marketing exec at a big corp to understand their take on it. The idea of having to market Facebook at this stage in their lifecycle is very intriguing to me.
It's no different than Coca Cola or McDonalds. Everybody knows about them and most know it's garbage. The answer is to sell a feeling, a mental association, a lifestyle... at a subconscious level. That's the real power of advertisement. For well-established brands, it's also branding reinforcement: never let your mind forget about the brand, so that at the right time, you're predisposed to reflexively reach for it. Feeling hungry? Mc Donalds! Feeling thirsty? Coke! Feeling that dopamine need for social validation? Facebook!
> ...most people know it's garbage
This is likely an exaggeration. While it may be true of the majority of HN readers, HN has a very specific demographic of generally tech- and business-aware people, who are much more exposed to damning data and discussion on the costs of FB - for most users, Facebook is a service somewhere on the scale of "useful" to "essential", with no readily apparent drawbacks; The rather negligible effect of the Cambridge Analytica media outcry serves to demonstrate the average valuation many put on privacy versus convenience.
> ...there's 7 billion or so people on the planet, and FB already has 28% of the total population using their app. They surely can't believe that they're one day going to have much more than their current market share?
At this point, I'm somewhat surprised FB hasn't started investing in Next Billion technologies; there's a limit to the portion of current smartphone users that are willing to join Facebook, so one solution may be to ensure more people have smartphone access.
*I am probably underestimating how many older folks are completely out-of-the-loop with Facebook.
No offense intended to the previous commenter in particular, but statistically speaking, someone who reads stodgy news without an ad blocker in a subscription app on an expensive phone probably fits the profile. They may have heard of the company but haven't tried it, or they tried it in the past and just need the brand occasionally refreshed in their mind until they try it again.
I don't think that's quite a fair characterization. Apps that block in-app ads are against the major app store polices, so one would have to be far more technically adept than average to have a working ad blocker in a news app:
Browsers are a different story.
It is concerning that a business model can be dependent on necessary ignorance of the users. Sounds like a bubble waiting to pop.
They may have heard of the company but haven't tried it, or they tried it in the past and just need the brand occasionally refreshed in their mind until they try it again.
Meaning they're losing this all-important audience
I assumed I wasn't personally targeted, and that it's part of a "increase monthly and daily now!" campaign FB is running. Seems like they had a good reason to try.
That kind of manipulative notification behavior has been around a long time. Whenever their algorithm detects you might be drifting off, they send you more and more needy notifications in order to tempt you back. Though, I wouldn't be surprised of they've cranked up the neediness level recently.
It doesn't feel like the results justify the 20% drop.
“Our total revenue growth rates will continue to decelerate in the second half of 2018, and we expect our revenue growth rates to decline by high single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in both Q3 and Q4."
You have to remember one main way analysts estimate what a share is worth today - they model out time-discounted earnings in perpetuity. A company that is expected to grow in the future is worth much more today than a company that isn't expected to grow at all.
The stock didn't drop because they missed this quarter alone, it's because all the analysts models are now assuming future earnings will grow much more slowly into the foreseeable future.
It declined in Europe.
Expect total expense growth to exceed revenue growth in 2019.
Also expect revenue growth rates to decline by high single digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in Q3 and Q4.
They painted a rough road ahead compared to how the stock had been valued in many people’s models.
Of course if they're still dominant when this happens.
Over-optimization means that even when a string of bad news hit, the stock may not change much because of the previous string of good news still having inertia and the market "not really believing" the new bad stories. But eventually the market sentiment changes, and then it all comes crashing down, and now the bad news are over-optimized, and the good news become irrelevant. And the cycle repeats itself.
This is harder to see with stock because it tends to happen over a multi-year span, but it's much easier to see with cryptocurrencies where this happens over a several months period.
Neither does it for me.
FB is still the only real GOOGL competitor in the ad market. It's revenue and market share is growing. All it has to do is extracting more money from its huge user base, which at least with instagram it hasn't really tried for now.
Employing content reviewers won't come cheap, but that investment is going to be faced by all social media platforms and in turn will be sector neutral. Facing regulatory burdens with measures like this helps the big ones manifest their oligopol.
While I can echo most HNers sentiment (I too decreased my FB usage before and after the CA scandal) I think we are not precisely the best socio-economic group to serve as indicator for what drives people or doesn't: Most people are happy to share on social media platforms (no matter how repugnant I feel about it) and there is no social media real estate like FB or IG around.
Fundamentally it's still cheaper than GOOGL in terms of P/E and just costs half of what GOOGL costs for every $ of FCF.
But the problem with these after hours sessions is that they don't have much liquidity and that you can easily have a market squeeze due to people covering their position. This is what happened with the VIX ETNs.
It's likely that European and US/Canada user count growth is flat or nearly so, and their gains recently have been out of getting more dollars per user through increasing advertising revenue as opposed to getting more users. It could be (or not) that they can grow those revenues even more.
You could have a bad quarter and not get punished (too much) for it, assuming that your forecast was correct.
> The company’s top line was $13.04 billion, weaker than $13.34 billion analysts expected, suggesting that the world’s largest social network has begun to feel some of the effects of the controversies that have battered it during the quarter.
*but you're not alone.
Stock prices should come with uncertainty bars, like scientific quantities, but there is of course no standard way to calculate and denote that.
A 20% drop in 2 trading days has around a 1/700 chance of happening under a Black-Scholes model.
So yes, this does happen in the market, but it's a reasonably rare event.
(As another data point on how rare this was, $190 puts were being sold for $0.3/share. Those are now worth $17, a 50x return)
A single day move of twenty percent is rare even in small caps. Facebook moving that much means the market did not except even the risk of something this big.
For comparison when Nissan announced a recall of over a million cars their stock moved less than three percent. Single day moves are rarely so large, and almost never this large for a single company.
The EMH would say that a company's stock price accurately reflects all current knowledge about a stock's underlying value. So from the point of view of an investor in publicly traded companies, a stock's price and its underlying value are the same thing.
Options have an expiration date because as the further you go out the more uncertain things are, and the harder it becomes to make a market in options in a way that (a) won't result in a high chance of losses and (b) will have someone actually willing to buy them. That's why you don't see 10, 20 or 50 year options.
That doesn't hurt their value for pricing uncertainty because as options expire, new ones are minted. Therefore, you can always use them to price the uncertainty of the price to the next quarter, the next 6 months or the next year.
Put another way, "don't get high on your own supply."
And to your point, investors could have sold for over 25% of profit as well if they had sold it earlier today. So I still stand by saying that this is huge change. Besides, this thread is not about long term, just invest in index funds so I just fail to see the point.
Think that was OP's point. That facebook has matured and is no longer a growth company.
I assume the vast majority clicked 'Agree' or similar on prompts about updated policies, but it's funny to phrase it this way. Obviously if asked directly, the vast majority would't actually affirm that.
Taking this anecdotal evidence into account, I wonder if it's just Facebook's core audience growing out of social media. Sure, Zuckerberg has a bazillion users, but his site started by selectively inviting college students in the early 00's. Those early adopters are now all in their 30s and have better things to do than gossip and post vanity shots all day. Maybe the older audience who joined the site later are losing interest because that core was less active.
And then there's the younger generation who actively avoid Facebook and stay connected through a massive spread of other apps/games/sites that are not outright social media outlets. Without a major pivot, this could be big trouble for FB.
High school acquaintance: Join us on facebook!
Me: What for? So you can treat me like shit like you did in high school?
Cousin: Join us on facebook, so you can stay in touch.
Me: Why don't you just tell me what's happening like you always have?
Then we can shoot the shit and laugh and talk and gossip, just us two, like we always have?
Neighbor: Why don't you join our community group on facebook so you can see what's going on?
Me: I'll just pay my dues and spend my time on what's really important to me.
Work associate: Why don't you work at facebook? Everywhere else is lame.
Me: Because lots of other places are doing cool stuff that really matters.
Friend: I can't believe you're still not on facebook. Everyone is!
Me: Your 2 sentences contradict each other.
Me: Why didn't you invite me to your wedding?
Fraternity brother: Because you're not on facebook.
Me: Lame. And classless.
Sister-in-law: Your business cannot succeed unless it has a presence on facebook.
Me: Really? I just had my best year ever.
Local business: See what we're up to on facebook.
Me: I just go somewhere with their own website.
Me: Why didn't you answer my emails?
Friend: Why didn't you just message me?
Me: What's that?
Work friend: How do you manage to get so damn much work done?
Me: Because I'm not spending hours every day on facebook on my phone.
I'm too busy building stuff.
Business guru: A following on facebook is not nearly as effective as a good email list.
There's too much noise for the signal.
Me: You don't say?
Almost everyone: What have we done?!?
facebook is ruining everything!
Our privacy is gone! How do we get off?
Me: I get off every day. The old fashioned way.
I mean I don't spend too much time on Facebook (I hate procrastinating so I'm limiting myself a lot). But it has been the most useful website I have used in the past 10 years. Yes more than Gmail or Github. It wasn't useful for work, but I'm still working hard even with facebook. I check it only in the bathroom.
Concerning privacy? Privacy is long gone. And I couldn't care less. And I knew that in 2010, no need for cambridge analytica scandal. I just only communicate as if everything was public. I don't mind if any employer sees my entire Facebook/Twitter history. I don't mind if the presidential candidates know what type of milk I drink. I don't mind the government can track where I am using GPS or cell tower triangulation. I am who I am, and I have nothing to hide.
I remember the day Chambers Saif Cisco hit an air pocket. Since then it has only been layoffs, cuts and austerity for Cisco. Never really recovered. Is it the same day for FB?
> Cisco on Wednesday reported healthy profit and sales gains for its fiscal first quarter, in line with Wall Street expectations. But a host of challenges -- including losses in public sector accounts and in specific product areas like set-top boxes -- coupled with a less-than-invigorating sales forecast for the current quarter, were enough to send Cisco's shares tumbling.
> Cisco CEO John Chambers, on Cisco's Q1 conference call, described the challenges as hitting an "air pocket," and was bullish on many of the areas in which Cisco excelled. But he set a subdued tone for the call, especially with the forecast that second quarter revenues would increase only about 3 to 5 percent, and a forecast that revenue growth for fiscal 2011 overall would be 9 to 12 percent, well below both the 13 percent for Q2 and the 13.1 percent for FY11 predicted by analysts.
> Specifically, said Chambers, orders came in over $500 million below Cisco's initial Q1 sales forecast.
Then today or yesterday their permission to do so was yanked by Chinese authorities.
EDIT: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-25/just-hours-after-a... summary of stories from NYT, Reuters, etc. on this matter
I just wish India would take a similar stand and then game over for Facebook.
The thing that's still Facebook and major part of my life is WhatsApp. Chit chats, group discussions, and calls with family back home all happen through WhatsApp.
Couldn't transition to other apps because most people in my family and friends circle don't really care about privacy or data security. They prefer convenience.
Without them switching, it's going to be hard for me to switch.
What's wrong with phone calls and SMS? Granted they're not more secure, but at least they're not Facebook. I don't know any WhatsApp users, so I'm unaware of the advantage.
It's easier for everyone to use WhatsApp, because that platform provides a consistent experience. Also I can search messages in WhatsApp, I can't find this in iMessage.
During group discussions (like say planning a trip), we often share screenshots/images of hotels and other services for groups to vote on. These things are not possible with SMS or calls.
In India, most people I know have stopped using SMS altogether. Even I have stopped looking at SMS mostly because all the SMS I get is either an OTP (10%), a transactional message (10%), or a marketing message/SPAM (80%).
The last time I sent someone a personal message (or someone sent me one) using SMS was probably 2 years ago.
I wonder what it will take for WhatsApp to be dethroned? Perhaps a massive data leak, or proof that their e2e encryption has been knowingly compromised to gather data for Facebook advertising.
Edit: I avoid facebook like what seems like most other people here on hacker news but my point is that hacker news is in no way shape or form representative of the global population.
Source? From two quick Google searches it seems like the EU and the US Z
combined make more than 1bn users.
EU population: 508 million people
US population: 325.7 million people
But they were simply not looking closely enough. And as I said back then, you need to give this sort of things time to see the real effects, like at least until the end of the year. Because I believe the worst is still ahead of Facebook. Facebook is now on a downwards path, and it's irreversible.
Facebook is now officially Blackberry. And just like with Blackberry before, many dismissed the fundamental issues of the company while blindly following the "record quarters" Blackberry kept having until 2009.
If they had just looked closely enough, they would've seen that BB's core North American market was on a steep decline path and it was also obvious that its phones were nowhere near as good as iPhones or Android phones.
Just look at what's happening to Facebook engagement. Ignore Facebook's sugarcoating. Look how the people around you are using Facebook and what they say about it.
> But they were simply not looking closely enough. And as I said back then, you need to give this sort of things time to see the real effects, like at least until the end of the year.
> Because I believe the worst is still ahead of Facebook. Facebook is now on a downwards path, and it's irreversible.
I don't think I agree. Facebook still has many opportunities for user and revenue growth in Instagram and WhatsApp. As far as being irreversible, Microsoft was in a very dire position too and now it's having record-breaking quarters. It'll largely depend on leadership and direction.
> Facebook is now officially Blackberry. And just like with Blackberry before, many dismissed the fundamental issues of the company while blindly following the "record quarters" Blackberry kept having until 2009.
One bad quarter doesn't make a company "officially Blackberry". IIRC, Blackberry didn't release it first touch-screen phone until 2013 (5 years after the iPhone) and it's first Android phone until 2015 (8 years after the iPhone). It was their stubbornness quarter after quarter, year after year that sank them-- they weren't dead the minute the iPhone was released just like Samsung wasn't. They should've just played smart and embraced Android/touchscreens from the get-go.
Will Facebook remain stubborn or will it gain trust back? I don't know. Calling it dead already is a huge oversimplification though.
> Just look at what's happening to Facebook engagement. Ignore Facebook's sugarcoating. Look how the people around you are using Facebook and what they say about it.
The people around me are not an accurate sample of all Facebook users around the world. In my case, I see a lot of people using Facebook for Events and Marketplace. I see everyone on Instagram. The real data is in the numbers. Facebook's website falling behind Reddit is telling, but Instagram and WhatsApp surpassing Snapchat's stories also is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯