Facebook has once again reinforced its Teflon image among client marketers by posting a 28% year-on-year rise in ad revenues over the second quarter to reach $16.62bn (£13.32) but it claims to have learned from its current issues and plans to appoint its first chief privacy officer.
The results, which come just 24 hours after the US Federal Trade Commission confirmed a record $5n (£4bn) fine, prove that, despite the best efforts of regulators and privacy groups – and even MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis – to bring the social media giant to its knees, the company continues to plough on like a runaway train.
According to the firm, it had 1.59 billion daily active users throughout June, an 8% rise year on year, and when you add in Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger this rose to 2.1 billion – equivalent to 28% of the world’s population.
University of Edinburgh Business School senior lecture in marketing Dr Ben Marder said: “The Facebook behemoth continues climbing high above the digital clouds, slowly and steadily amassing one extra feature or business expansion at a time. Though the social media platform continues to draw fire, hate and visceral comments from governments and activists over privacy and antitrust issues, Q2 earnings show investors and more importantly users have faith in this giant’s ability.
“Any bumps in the road, such as government and regulatory intervention (and subsequent hefty fines), are mitigated as Facebook’s unrelenting expansion steamrolls all in its wake.
“First, the gleaming golden children of Facebook’s mother brand, WhatsApp and Instagram, are flourishing. Second, Facebook Watch, its newly realised and fast growing online TV offering, has the potential to disrupt the digital TV market. Third, the ‘stories’ feature, which is now present across the Facebook Portfolio, is growing in popularity.
“Tapping into users’ disdain for a digital footprint, ‘stories’ only last for a limited period of time online. With all this positive momentum, as well as digital and financial capital behind it, who is to say Zuckerberg’s latest venture, the much maligned and criticised leap into the cryptocurrency market with Libra, won’t be a success?”
In response to criticism over the exploitation of data, the company says it is hunting its first chief privacy officer.
Veritas Technologies senior director Jasmit Sagoo reckons it is a step in the right direction and will ensure someone is at least accountable for generating value from data in a way that respects customers’ personal information.
However, he warns: “Documenting possible privacy risks will only be successful if there is greater transparency surrounding customer data. While regulators are demonstrating they are willing to hand out heavy fines to firms that fail to toe the line, the biggest cost to companies that fail to comply with regulations will be reputational damage, especially as consumers become savvier about their data privacy rights.”
If current performance is anything to go by, this is not an issue which is likely to affect Facebook, however.
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