Facebook’s Q3 Earnings Prove Its Problems Are Not Just Bad For Users and Democracy But For Business Too

Facebook’s Q3 Earnings Prove Its Problems Are Not Just Bad For Users and Democracy But For Business Too. Source: Bloomberg

Facebook’s 2018 third quarter earnings prove – as they did last quarter – that it’s problems aren’t just bad for users and democracy, they’re also bad for business and shareholders. On their earnings call today, the company revealed mixed results, beating expectations on earnings, but missing on both user growth and revenue.

“Facebook is the new Big Tobacco, except that it sickens and kills democracies in addition to addicting and manipulating its users. After two negative quarters, investors should be waking up to the fact that it’s business model is not only poisonous but also unsustainable, because it is fundamentally incompatible with democracy,” said Sarah Miller, Freedom From Facebook Spokesperson.

The second quarter in a row of mixed results come as Facebook’s same problems remain:

  • Today reports revealed Facebook’s “paid for by” ad transparency tool is easily manipulated by buying fake ads on behalf of all 100 U.S. senators;
  • An Iranian network, which used the platform to sow disinformation, was discovered just days before the midterm elections;
  • The platform has taken little action to curb its role in Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing crisis;
  • Hackers exploited the platform’s “view as” feature to gain access to 50 million users’ Facebook, Tinder, Spotify, and Instagram accounts;
  • Just days before the presidential election in Brazil, a pro-Bolsonaro spam network spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories was removed from WhatsApp; and
  • British regulators slapped the platform with a 500,000 pound fine for Cambridge Analytica privacy abuses.

Facebook’s never-ending string of problems will not be solved by Zuckerberg & co’s piecemeal solutions. The platform’s core business model – which profits off of abusing users’ privacy – must be addressed. Freedom From Facebook is calling on the FTC to step in by finding it in violation of its consent decree, breaking it up, and imposing strong privacy rules on the platform.

Just like last quarter’s earning call, not a single analyst asked Facebook about the FTC investigation. Wall Street’s lack of concern is a stinging indictment of the FTC and its ability to police our markets. It is critical that the FTC proves Wall Street wrong, and doesn’t just investigate Facebook, but takes meaningful enforcement actions to fix the problems because it’s clear that Facebook won’t.