The FTC investigation of Facebook, analysis

Facebook is reportedly under FTC investigation over its handling of user data

Apparently Facebook helped itself to too much user data, evoking the ire of lawmakers and some of the public [which I will get to shortly]. My prediction is, this will blow over.

The left is saying Facebook’s troubles could be the start of a ‘dotcom bubble bursting’. This is same useless financial media that was wrong about Web 2.0 in 2012, prematurely calling it a bubble. Meanwhile, prices have risen significantly since 2012, including not just tech stocks, but home prices in the Bay Area, too. And so have earnings for tech stocks like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, so this rise in prices is not just based speculation but also based on fundamentals. Given how the media has been so wrong about pretty much everything, they should have no credibly.

In the hope of seeing Facebook fail, the liberal media is spinning a narrative that there is massive outrage over Facebook’s handling of user data, when such outrage is, rather, isolated to only some Facebook users, yet the media is trying to make it seem like there is this massive public repudiation/rebuke of Facebook, when there is not.

The left used to support Facebook, but have turned against it for the following reasons:

Facebook enables the spread ‘fake news’, which according to the left caused Trump to win, all while Facebook looked on.
Facebook makes too much money and does not pay enough taxes.
Facebook creates anxiety and is too addictive.
Facebook employees are not diverse enough (meaning not enough blacks and Hispanics; Asians and Indians don’t count as diversity)
Facebook gathers too much user information, with disregard for how its handled.

Most people who use Facebook know they are sacrificing some privacy, perhaps more than they would like, but they still use Facebook anyway. It’s not like anyone registers for a Facebook account not expecting some their information to be logged and tracked, and such information provided to advertisers. Other forms of media, such as print and television, track users; why should online media be different. Did Facebook overreach? Probably, but most Facebook users aren’t nearly as outraged as the media is over this. This is similar to how the media was ‘shocked’ that Trump won, because Hillary was supposed to win even though half of the country supported Trump, yet ensconced in their spheres of reality the media could have never conceived such a possibility.

The FTC investigation will likely result in nothing, or at worst, a slap on the wrist and a fine which will amount to little more than rounding error compared to Facebook’s profits and cash reserves. In 2011 Facebook settled with the FTC over similar privacy concerns; the same outcome will likely happen here. Facebook stock, which fell from $185 to $165 on this news will recover. In spite of the media’s best efforts, such as by the New York Times, Wired, and Tech Crunch, to stoke public outrage against Facebook, Facebook usage will not fall. The EU tax is also not a big deal; Google has been fined and taxed numerous times by the EU since 2004, and each time brushing it off. It’s little more than a cost of doing business.

But overall, this is not a defense of Facebook, but rather criticism of how the media in handling this story. Facebook is one of those companies that everyone loves to hate, yet cannot stop using.