Is the end of Facebook approaching?

4 min. reading
Digital economy, Digitalisation, Social Media / 19 March, 2022
Is the end of Facebook approaching?

Karla García Gil Journalist

For several years there have been rumors that the end of Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is near. It seems that Mark Zuckerberg‘s company has already reached its highest peak in terms of growth, as it had stagnated in the fourth quarter of 2021, with 2,912 million monthly active users worldwide, practically unchanged from the 2,910 million of the previous quarter, something never seen in 18 years of the network’s history. However, despite the above, in the last three years the company gained almost 600 million new followers, according to a company earnings report.

The stagnation of the network has been particularly noticeable among users who connect daily, as this number went from 1.93 billion in the third quarter of 2021 to 1.929 billion in the last three months of that year. This can be attributed to young people opting for other platforms.

The metaverse and its influence on technology investments

The metaverse and its influence on technology investments

Companies are promoting the creation of the metaverse, so much so that the market valuation currently amounts to 800,000 million dollars and by 2030 it is estimated that this valuation could reach 2.5 trillion.

Meta and metaverse

Regarding the name change made by Facebook on October 28, it is worth mentioning that it was made at a corporate level, so it did not and will not affect the operation of any of the social networks managed by the company now called Meta. Thus, Facebook will remain Facebook, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp will remain with the same name.

To this will be added something else, the metaverse. The metaverse constitutes a parallel reality in the virtual world, which allows people to live a double life: the real one and the fictional one. The composition of the word comes from the Greek “meta” which means beyond, together with the word universe, which can be translated as “beyond the universe” that we know today.

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced a $10 billion investment for Facebook Reality. In its metaverse division, there will be content in both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

But Facebook is not the only platform that is working on building its own metaverse, companies such as Apple, Sony and Nvidia have intentions to immerse the user in such reality.

Closures, fines and wars

Rumors of a possible closure of Facebook are not surprising, if we take into account the onslaughts that the company has suffered in recent years.

The most recent is that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, assured that it would not be able to continue operating in the European Union if EU regulations did not allow it to transfer data of its European users to the United States. This, after in July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) annulled the Privacy Shield regulation, which until then regulated the transfer of user data between countries, which brought into force the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which prohibits companies from processing the data of European citizens outside that region.

On the other hand, Facebook also announced last year that it would withdraw its facial recognition system, used for more than a decade to automatically identify users. This amid growing privacy concerns and after Meta had to pay a $650 million fine for identifying Illinois users without their consent.

Somehow the company has tried to clean up its image and restore the trust lost by users, and this is not the only scandal in which the network has been immersed.

In 2021 Facebook agreed to voluntarily pay 47 times the amount of the original penalty imposed by the General Trade Commission, or what is the same, almost 5,000 million dollars more, due to a malpractice that dates back to 2018, when the platform publicly acknowledged its share of guilt in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

On the other hand, Apple’s privacy policies have also eroded the platform and even other social networks. One of the strongest measures is that, when the user enters an application for the first time, they are asked if they authorize being tracked on the network. If the answer is no, data on their activity, information that was previously provided by default, is no longer transferred.

But that’s not all, the latest blow to Facebook has been the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has caused it to lose 5.3% of its stock market value since February 24, when the invasion began, meaning that its market capitalization has been reduced by some 17,000 million dollars since that date. In addition, the Soviet nation announced a partial restriction of access to the platform, after it limited the publications of Russian media.

As we can see, it is not possible to know precisely if the end of Facebook is near, what we do know is that the company is in a process of vindication and that it is betting on the future by improving and innovating its platform.

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