Up until recent times, Mark Zuckerberg’s ground-breaking social network – Facebook – has remained King and Queen of internet socializing. It’s only in recent years that it has faced evolving competition in the likes of Snapchat (which has thus far avoided agreeing to a buy-out from the Big F, let alone anyone else) – and in those years, while Twitter has also struggled to build on user growth, Facebook has continued to unnerve some in terms of just how careful it is with user data. Several reports from over the years will detail that it’s hardly the first time that we’ve started talking about what Facebook intends to do with all its users’ personal details (especially as it has continued to ask more and more from its users) – but thanks to a recent scandal surrounding the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, it seems that privacy concerns have once again had a knock-on effect for the power of Zuckerberg’s brand – particularly as it has lost them further value after a significant slice earlier this year.
The scandal, in short, surrounds allegations regarding how Cambridge Analytica obtained and used user data to help support Donald Trump’s US Election campaign. Yes – again – the Trump campaign is being brought into sharp focus, and this time, it seems that a number of big heads could be on the block. Accusations currently levelled at Facebook revolve around how the social network was able to – and whether or not it actually did – offer personal data, without consent, to the consultancy in question. Cambridge Analytica are denying any and all wrongdoing despite ongoing reports and investigations being mounted – and despite Facebook having suspended the firm’s access in recent days, the network’s worth has plummeted by around $37 billion, with figures at the time of reporting and writing weighing in at $172.56 per share.
The scandal is perhaps the biggest to face Facebook head-on for some time, certainly with regard to privacy – and with studies in recent times advising that use of the network could impact upon your sense of self-worth and positivity – as well as a growing shift in younger internet users moving towards IM platforms – we could be witnessing the network taking a corner it never wanted to take. Will Facebook survive 2018? Probably – but will this series of events mean that some of its most ardent users jump ship?