Mark Zuckerberg has made billions of dollars while smarter people than me have predicted Facebook’s impending doom. The company has become a global behemoth and a critical part of the digital marketing landscape for tens of thousands of small businesses.
Nothing lasts forever, and the shelf life of successful digital media properties is shorter than most other businesses. Facebook may not be in imminent danger of falling into bankruptcy, but its time as king of the internet is almost over.
Small businesses need to start preparing now for a future where Facebook has a much smaller reach.
Cracks in Facebook’s Defenses
Facebook’s dominance has been fueled by an aggressive user attraction strategy, innovative ad technology, and by playing fast and loose with privacy laws and data security. While it has so far managed to avoid meaningful sanctions from any government oversight body, a reckoning is coming.
Currently, Facebook is facing an ad boycott by several major brands because of its refusal to do more to keep hate speech off of the platform. Advertisers such as Verizon, Microsoft, and Sony have pulled their dollars from Facebook. Every day the number of name-brand companies joining the boycott is growing.
However, the real danger for Facebook is that small and medium companies are now also rethinking their relationship with the platform. Over the past five years, Facebook has been exposed several times as being duplicitous with its advertisers and users. This includes allowing companies to break its terms of service, and possibly the law, in collecting unauthorized user data. It also includes lying about the reach of video to boost its own features.
The backbone of Facebook’s advertising monolith is the army of small businesses that use the platform to micro-target customers.
European regulators are quietly moving forward in their antitrust and privacy violation investigations against Zuckerberg’s creation.
In the United States, there is growing bipartisan support for the idea that there is something rotten at Facebook, even…