2018 is a year Facebook is very glad to see in the rearview mirror. Scrutiny of its once sterling leadership has has risen dramatically. Its stock price has taken it. Trust in the platform couldn’t be lower, and for the first time since its inception many users are questioning whether or not their lives would simply be better without it.
A Call for Regulation
All of this is probably why more Americans are now so anxious about the power of Facebook and other tech platforms that the majority of them favor government regulation of the sector. In fact, more Americans that not are concerned the government won’t go far enough in its regulation. This is a jump from only months earlier when less than half had such a concern.
The merits of government regulation are certainly there, but it comes with risk. After all, tech companies would argue that it’s the lack of regulation that played a big role in leading to the innovative products and services we enjoy today. Of course, people love the countless benefits tech has bestowed, but that love is growing less and less blind. That’s why regulation in 2019 is growing more probable by the moment.
Facebook Will Do What Facebook Does
Despite the concerns, the #DeleteFacebook and the Congressional hearings, Facebook user numbers are up. It continues to grow, and that is where Facebook will hang its hat in 2019.
The company’s biggest advantage is its sheer size. Its user numbers mean nearly everyone is there. We’re all interconnected on the platform, and Facebook is where we’ve outsourced our relationships. It’s our online rolodex of those closest to us as well as those who are casual acquaintances. We’ve collectively made Facebook the hub of our people.
Our tribes are no longer just our neighborhoods, our schools, our clubs, our coworkers or those in our vicinity. Our tribes are far-flung and far-reaching, and Facebook is where it all comes together.
That’s power. That’s utility. That’s something Facebook has that’s next to impossible to replicate elsewhere even though many have tried, and that’s why Facebook will continue to invest in connecting its users to each other. The more we’re connected to each other, the more we’re connected to Facebook.
Deep Down We Want Facebook to Succeed
Facebook’s a behemoth, which makes it really easy to root against. And at the same time we login. We open WhatsApp. We post to Instagram. With every call to limit its power, we undermine ourselves by giving it our time, and we do that because it provides value, both real and perceived, to us as users.
It also provides value to us as advertisers. When Facebook is successful, brands can be successful there as well. Google is the only real equivalent out there for advertisers to reach a targeted audience at the scale Facebook provides.
As both a user and advertising professional, I want Facebook to succeed, but right now, I’m pretty over it. I’m over it as a user who feels betrayed by a misuse of my data. I’m over it as an advertiser who’s been given unreliable metrics. I’m over it as a citizen of this country and this world concerned with its power to spread misinformation and its inability to manage it.
Facebook’s betrayed everyone, and that’s why 2019 may be the year for regulation. But it’s also where we’ve outsourced our relationships. That’s why, whether or not its regulated, the action behind the desire to quit Facebook will fall flat.