An issue with Facebook, its policies, what data it collects and recent Boycott of Facebook advertising platform by big companies
Facebook Privacy issue
Recently, Facebook’s is facing many problems regarding their privacy issues that the company has to deal with. Facebook has been facing these issues since 2006 but the plus point is that they solve them in a very short time.
This time, Facebook reported a bug which has affected up to 6.8 million users. In this bugged app developers can see photos that users had uploaded but never posted, but this time the social media giant had to send out regarding data and security as of late and many users have reported this issue.
Here are Facebook’s recent issues with user privacy:
- In March, a whistleblower just came forward to reveal that Cambridge Analytica is improperly harvesting the personal data of 50 million Facebook users for political advertisements. Then, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO apologised for its mistakes.
- A bug was seen in June which also caused a glitch after it was publicly published in the posts of 14 million users which were private. Then Erin Egan apologised for the mistake and said it was the company’s fault and the glitch was soon fixed.
- Hackers were able to steal personal information of 30 million users’ accounts and it was affected in September security breach. The company soon solved this issue and in that total, 50 million users were affected. The hacker was able to control the account of these users.
- Mark Zuckerberg in May faced an accusation in a lawsuit which was filed by the software firm Six4Three and in the accusation it was stated that he weaponised the ability to access user’s data. The company claimed that these accusations were wrong and then the case was dismissed.
- The same lawsuit was taken to internal communications after the UK parliament noticed that the documents were a bit of an extraordinary move to hold Facebook and Zuckerberg accountable. The documents were sealed by the California court.
- The documents revealed that Facebook’s staff sold access to user’s data to some advertisers in 2012.
- The documents were also led to Facebook and finally in front of the House of Commons agreed to a hearing which was conducted in November. Facebook sent its representative MP Richard Allan. During hours of questioning, in the end, it was revealed that in 2014 an engineer warned the company that users based in Russia are collecting a large amount of data.
- In March, users reported that the company is collecting text messages and phone call records through smartphone apps without user’s permission. Facebook immediately reported a fact check and claimed that people have to agree to use this feature and give permission for uploading this information has always been opt-in only.
- A class-action lawsuit reported a case against Facebook saying that Facebook presents several wrongs information including a consumer bait-and-switch, an invasion of privacy, wrongful monitoring of minors and potential attacks on privileged communications. Facebook claimed that it asks for users’ permission to enable the feature that gives access to call logs of users.
- Later in this matter, Facebook said they had stopped giving third-party app developers to access the user data in 2015. But the Wall Street Journal in June reported that the social network is continuously sharing users’ data with the help of third-party developers, even after that the executives claimed that the practice wasn’t stopped. This was officially confirmed by Facebook.
Boycott of Facebook advertising platform
Advertisers were spending a lot to promote their platforms but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of them suffered a huge loss. But now the advertisers may have received a gift in the current boycott of Facebook Inc. A better boost will be helpful for their brands, without even paying anything.
But now hundreds of advertisers are publicly announcing that they are ceasing advertising purchases from Facebook in a protest #StopHateForProfit. The focus of this campaign is on the company’s inability to properly stop the racism and violent content as well as misinformation.
As per reports, some of the advertising experts had said that those decisions are not so wrenching, and though boycotting Facebook is something which will be more cost-effective than paying for ads, they had received free media publicity and appeal to socially-conscious consumers. Some steady drumbeat of household including The North Face (VFC), Pfizer (PFE) and Levi Strauss (LEVI) have joined the campaign #StopHateForProfit overall social media platforms and their network’s for hate speech and giving misinformation.
Some major analysts of Facebook’s top advertisers, based on data from market research firm Pathmatics, have revealed that over 100 biggest ad spenders on this platform haven’t joined the boycott yet. The companies who have paused the advertising on Facebook including Walmart (WMT), American Express (AXP) and Home Depot (HD).
Out of the 25 largest spenders on Facebook ads, only three companies including Microsoft (MSFT), Starbucks (SBUX) and Pfizer (PFE) have publicly announced to pause marketing on Facebook. As per resources, those top 25 businesses accounted for an estimated $2 billion of Facebook advertising spend which means nearly 3 per cent of Facebook’s 2019 revenues. The data also suggests that the ongoing boycott will bring a limited impact on Facebook’s bottom line according to the situation right now. Even if all 100 Facebook’s biggest advertisers joined this campaign still it will only account for just 6% of the company’s annual ad revenue.
Majority of these spenders haven’t given any official statement on this matter. Almost all of the top 25 brands haven’t reacted, including Walmart, Uber, Netflix, Dominoes and American Express. AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, haven’t given any official comment regarding their advertising plans on Facebook.
Some of these brands provided non-committal responses. Facebook’s single largest advertiser Home Depot, in 2019 according to Pathmatics with $178.5 million spent on the platform, declined to say if it has made any changes.
Many brand advertisers have planned to officially quit Facebook permanently by tomorrow. Still, all these boycott campaigns will not affect the economy or revenue of Facebook because Facebook will still have more than 90 per cent of its revenue. Some analysts had assumed that these brand advertisers won’t eventually come back to Facebook, at least for some time because they are not making much money. There’s a reason that Facebook has more than 7 million advertisers, and the reason is that the ads work.
It also seems that these advertisers want some sort of concession from Facebook which will directly mean the victory of this campaign and then they will move on. If Facebook offers some minor concession and advertisers agree to accept it and move on, then those who are sceptical of the motives behind the boycott can make a case that the whole thing was essentially opportunistic or it was conducted to put on a small show.