Facebook, Data and Cambridge Analytica
Here’s a story that will run and run. It has all the elements of a Hollywood movie. Wronged innocents, shady organisations, theft and the requisite bad guy.
Facebook were already in the spotlight (and have been for months). However, the involvement of Cambridge Analytica – and links to dodgy elections – have blown this story onto front pages globally. This has heaped further pressure on Facebook, whose stock has plummeted in response (losing $35+ billion dollars in market value this week alone).
From here it’s a case of damage limitation for Facebook. Hopefully the extent to which they may (or may not) have been aware of the data breach will be revealed in good time.
Our expectation is that Facebook may lose some (more) of their user base, as people vote with their feet. But we don’t think this will be to the extent that their advertising proposition will be seriously affected. Facebook is worth waaaaaay too much money to be allowed to destabilise as a result of even these very serious issues. They’re a public company and there are too many vested interests to let that happen.
Mark Zuckerberg needs to play his cards right to make sure he’s not cast as Dr. Evil. Cambridge Analytica’s people are front runners for this role at the moment, and Mr. Zuckerberg will do what he can to make sure things stay that way.
Way down here, at agency/advertiser level, the truth remains that Facebook (and associated platforms) retain huge audiences in the UK. Their targeting capabilities are highly accurate, which mean it works effectively a lot of the time. Of course the reason for this is that so many of us, willingly, give them vast amounts of valuable data on a daily basis. So we’re not jumping on the #deletefacebook bandwagon for now. Facebook are more than aware that if they mess with their users’ data, it’s at their peril.