Could The Facebook Empire Be Crumbling?

Could The Facebook Empire Be Crumbling?

by , Featured Contributor, September 24, 2021

Surely, if you had been alive at the height of the Persian Empire, you would not have fathomed that the state would soon collapse. Surely, if you had been alive during the height of the Roman Empire, you would have expected it to go on forever.

Could The Facebook Empire Be Crumbling? |

Despite the fact that every empire throughout history has eventually crumbled, it is still hard to imagine the death of this one.

The previous two paragraphs could have been the opening to a speculative essay on the stability of American democracy, or on the likely duration of China’s dominance.

But the biggest empire in the world, boasting 2.74 billion inhabitants, is not a nation-state. It’s Facebook.

Like most empires, Facebook has a history of terrible behavior. I documented a bunch of it in late 2018, with further infractions coming along a few short months later. Here are just a few:

  • They faked video view metrics by up to 900%, defrauding advertisers and driving a “pivot to video” that caused dozens of news sites to go bankrupt.
  • Their filter bubble algorithms were directly linked to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
  • They had a ”friendly fraud” scandal, in which they had intentionally gotten kids to spend money without realizing it, and then refused to refund the money.
  • They paid 13- to 35-year-olds $20 per month to get access to everything on their devices, including, “private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps — including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.”

But like the infamous honey badger, the folks at Facebook just don’t care. Not one of those or any of the myriad other scandals they have faced have ever seemed to cause anything more than a flesh wound — and meanwhile, the juggernaut continues apace.

Could The Facebook Empire Be Crumbling? |

At more than $29 billion for the 3-month period, year-on-year revenue was up 56% for Q2 2021.

When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t ask questions. Surely, with ineffectual blow after ineffectual blow doing nothing more than superficial damage, the Facebook empire seems here to stay. But maybe, just maybe, there are a few cracks in the hegemony.

As Jason Kint reported, a major lawsuit was filed last month, not only against Facebook but also against Zuckerberg, Sandberg, members of the board (including Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen) and others individually.

The suit alleges that FB spent billions to protect Zuckerberg personally, that there was an “epic corporate governance breakdown,” that there was insider trading, that Zuckerberg misled Congress, and more.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is going hard after the company, and with a chair as fierce as Lina Khan at the helm actually stands a decent chance of getting somewhere.

Could The Facebook Empire Be Crumbling? |

It’s hard to imagine that anything could have a material impact on Facebook’s empire. But every empire looks that way — until it falls. Search & Performance Marketing Daily