It doesn’t take long for the calls to come in the moment there’s any out-of-the-blue news that seems to have upset-the-applecart of some of my colleagues predetermined storylines, whether it be of the business type, market type, or any other news worthy headline.
Today is no different with all the business/financial mainstream news media abuzz about Facebook™ (FB) with its sudden negative, knee-jerk reaction to Zuck’s stated “personal goal” of (paraphrasing) “making FB great again” by heavy handily censoring all the news its users seem fit to post, pun intended.
As I type this FB stock has gapped down some 5% from the high and is vacillating at around $180 mark. Whether or not this holds, falls further, or as this “market” has done time and time again – is just the dip everyone who believes there’s nothing but further upside to go, for this is just an aberration. All I can say too that is: We shall see.
However, with that said, that doesn’t mean I haven’t made mention of precisely this topic, as well as the ramifications before. To be precise – it was just a little over one year ago, December 2016. To wit:
There are two hot topics post the U.S. presidential election. One is “fake news”, the other is Facebook™ (FB), and its involvement in it.
The accusations and the defenses against have been all over the board. Both figuratively, as well as literally.
Management from Mark Zuckerberg on down have been professing when it came to anything “fake” it wasn’t of their doing. And gee-whiz-by-golly they’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure anything “fake” never sees the “like” of day again.
Sounds great, in theory. But there’s a very real fact that must now be considered…
If “fake” news was so wide-spread, and so devoured on FB that it had the ability to not only influence, but rather, to overturn political norms and ruin the election of what everyone in media on down believed; that this election was merely a formality on paper because, it was clear to all of them, Mrs. Clinton would win not just walking away, but running?
That would mean FB now has to alienate (i.e., by now not delivering “news” these people wanted to see) millions, upon millions, upon millions of now current users. What does that imply to their now “real” (ooopsy, again!) metrics going forward?
If the above hypothetical has the ability to be true (and from a business perspective it sure has) the very fact that FB will now openly censor, mark, tag, possibly defame (whether intentionally or not), and more articles of news, or anything else shared on its platform. Two questions have to be asked:
First: How many FB customers decide they don’t need or want a “mommy” deciding what they can, or can not, read or share? Second: How fast does that process begin, and by how many?
No matter what side of the political fence you’re on matters. The only thing that matters is what all this means from a business perspective to FB’s bottom line. For as much as everyone likes “free”, without Wall Street (or the Swiss Central Bank) buying? FB moves to AOL™ status quicker than you can say “You’ve got mail®.”
Again, where this all goes from here we’ll all just have to wait and see how it all plays out. However, with that said, I’ll just leave you with a few items to muse on in conjunction…
First: This shouldn’t be a shock, it was actually inevitable, for the writing-on-the-wall was quite clear back over a year ago for anyone that wanted to truly look.
Second: When Mark announced back in September of last year that he wanted to boost his selling of shares from $1Billion to selling nearly 20% of his stake with the addition of 75 million shares? One needed to ask themselves then: Does this look like a CEO who is committed to staying and “fixing” the place up? Or, a CEO who’s committed to “fixing” the place up – and getting the heck-out-of-Dodge while at the highs as fast as he can? Hint: Funny how the sudden commitment to sell came right before the sudden commitment of many to sue, call for regulation and more, does it not? All just coincidence, I’m sure.
Third: Just remember – it doesn’t matter what you, me, or Mark even thinks. The one you need to worry about is what The Swiss Central Bank thinks. Because if they decide it’s time to sell – then that’s the tell-tale sign that things might be far worse for FB itself than the many publishers and others that will now find the business they created on FB, or became dependent upon – is now worth less, as in – a lot less.
The only solace I can offer anyone if indeed things take a turn for the worse is this…
If you suddenly find the need to sell any shares you may have, don’t think you’re in it alone. Just take solace in the fact that Mark will be right in there – selling with you.
© 2018 Mark St.Cyr