Regulators on both sides of the pond are grilling Facebook about privacy, and the company announced that it had set aside $3 billion for any potential fines it might incur.
This comes after a series of appearances by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg before Congressional committees and other regulatory bodies. The hearings were a financial nightmare for the company. Investors selling shares in their wake drained more than $70 billion from the company’s market cap.
But while regulators are up in arms about how Facebook uses the private data of its members, those who use Facebook don’t seem terribly concerned. The company reported results that beat estimates, and its shares are higher than before the flap began. The company experienced an 8% increase in users over the last year.
Ben Marder, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Edinburgh Business School, said:
With each fresh scandal, commentators and politicians demand vague action and declare the end is nigh. All this just solidifies Facebook as a shining example of ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Figures show its users are generally happier now, following alterations to the algorithm to give them more ‘meaningful content’.
Marketers also appear less sensitive to privacy than they let on. While companies might have concerns, they still work with Facebook because the company is such a large part of the social media landscape. Cutting out Facebook would deal a major blow to most online marketing efforts.
It’s not clear why users don’t care much about the privacy issues. It could be that they don’t expect much privacy when they post their personal lives online, or perhaps they don’t think there’s much privacy left. With Ring doorbells, government cameras on light poles, and social media firms tracking everything we do, its easy to see how people would meet privacy concerns with a shrug.