2018 was a bad year for Facebook. The Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed Facebook’s dirty business of selling their user’s personal data to anyone for a buck. Mark Zuckeberg and his right-hand woman Sheryl Sandberg were hauled up on front of the US Congress to address concerns about the security and privacy of American citizens’ data.
Facebook has been accused of providing a platform for state sponsored hackers to influence Brexit and the US election and politicians around the world are threatening fines, regulation and even the forced break-up of Facebook if they don’t clean up their act. The #DeleteFacebook movement on Twitter is gaining momentum as concerned social media users leave the platform in disgust.
Yet at the end of 2018 they reported record growth in subscribers? How is this possible? It’s not but you will never hear that from Facebook.
Margi Murphy of the Telegraph points out an interesting change in the way Facebook reports subscriber growth that may explain what’s going on. Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsAp, two other popular social media platforms. In previous financial reports, Facebook used to report subscriber growth on all three platforms as separate numbers as they should.
At the end of 2018, Facebook started to report subscriber growth across the ‘Facebook family of subscribers’ making it difficult to figure out if Facebook itself is actually growing or losing subscribers. The jewel in the crown is Facebook itself and Mark Zuckerberg has proven in the past that he is not afraid to use any means at his disposal, especially money, to ensure Facebook remains on top.
I remember thinking that $19 billion was a lot of money to pay for WhatsApp in 2014. Now I know why, he was preparing for the fight of his life.