Last year I made the joke during my seminars that Facebook is like the Black Knight out of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” you keep lobbing off its limbs and somehow it manages to survive. Nowadays it has become less of a laughing matter.
First of all, I will make my stance clear yes I am moving my agency away from social media management into the podcasting and vlogging space because I saw the writing on the wall late in 2019. Even back then Marketingland was reporting a drop in numbers in terms of Facebook usage, by some 15 million users worldwide and I can see a trend emerging.
If you look at the product lifecycle as soon as your uncool Aunty Karen moved into Facebook with her cohort the platform lost the hip factor. Those with some understanding of marketing as a discipline can see that the cool kids and early adopters have packed up and left years ago. Objectively from an outsider perspective looking in, the social media platform is a shadow of its former self, it is no longer a place where you can share funny cat videos. Rather Facebook (as the case with Twitter) has become quite a toxic place, and perhaps this is a reflection of society’s mood at the present day?
Now with the Advertiser Boycott
On my podcast earlier this year I mentioned that Facebook’s strength is also its weakness: control of the advertising dollar. Alongside Google, Facebook controls sixty-one cents in every advertising dollar spent in Australia last financial year. It is the biggest advertiser and as a small business owner, you have to pay a premium if you want to make the platform work for you.
Last week in the US, a major seismic event happened: major brands are pulling and boycotting advertising on the tech giant over Facebook’s refusal to stop the spread of hate speech. If Coca-Cola, for example, has boycotted ad spend on your platform, you know you have got a major problem.
Some of these brands are boycotting Facebook only for July, others for the rest of the year. For those large corporations with a socially conscious, Facebook is tone-deaf with the sentiment of the general public right now. At a time where people need to come together, there needs to be a line drawn, separating them from those who wish to tear people apart. And this will hurt Facebook, according to Bloomberg billions have been wiped off Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune last week.
Not to mention the damage to the brand’s reputation, if this crisis is not remedied soon it may go FUBAR. With these brands looking to advertise on less risky platforms, ones that are not hiding behind America’s first amendment by allowing hate speech and unchecked conspiracy theories run rampant. It seems from a distance that Facebook has not really learnt their lessons from the dramas of 2016. There has to be a line drawn between public safety and personal freedom, if the public is not safe, then there will be no freedom to defend.
And now the Antitrust Battle
It is not just the advertiser boycott that is hurting big tech right now, a hot topic going into the US Presidential election is the antitrust battle, which could see the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon fined heavily or even broken up. This is not unprecedented for big tech Microsoft went through the same fight back in 2000 and was fined $1 Billion according to Forbes magazine. Having big tech broken down into smaller companies is not out of the question either, not too mention class action taken by authorities in Europe and even here in Australia as mentioned in this article in the conversation.
You have to realise that all big tech companies, including Facebook, are Unicorns. Unicorns are rare to find and make billions, but they do so with questionable business ethics. What goes around comes around and the actions of 2010s are now facing equal reactions here in the 2020s.
What this means for you, the little guy?
As for joining in the advertiser boycott, the ball is in your court. according to ABC News, the majority of advertising revenue on Facebook comes from small businesses. As a business owner, you should always consider the triple bottom line. So if you like me are working towards a socially conscious venture, then yes, take your money elsewhere.
Facebook is not the be-all and end-all, yes by all means your business should have a presence on there by now. You should not put all of your digital eggs in one basket. Shop around, talk to a professional marketer and look where your content strengths are. There are a plethora of platforms out there that can bring you, bang for your marketing buck. Love making short fun videos? Tik Tok is hot right now. Prefer to share and write professional articles? LinkedIn in 2020 is where Facebook was in 2013.
Remember these major attacks could see the beginning of the end for Facebook because there are hurting where the tech giant is normally at its strongest. So dear reader, think wisely and strategically your next move.
Viva la revolution!
You can check out the next episode here: 12 Hats Radio 12 Hats Media Lab is a local independent media agency based in Mandurah, Western Australia if you wish to donate or tip to keep us running you can do so here: Support 12 Hats