Facebook’s Trials and Tribulations

Let’s face it. Publishers have more or less been pummeled by Facebook over the last three years. First, it kept tweaking and playing around with its algorithm, so much so that it caused traffic to plummet. Then came the notable head fake with its live video functionality. Finally, came the launch of ‘Instant Articles’.

These changes did not stop Facebook from eating the digital ad market. Even Jonah Peretti -BuzzFeed’s CEO and Facebook biggest booster – agreed that the social giant needs to stop being greedy and share more revenue.

Last year, Facebook showed us its soft spots; vulnerabilities that will continue to pose a problem. Not that the Silicon Valley giant is going to go under overnight, but historically, markets correct themselves when they become imbalanced, and 2017 made it abundantly clear that the digital media market is seriously imbalanced.

Facebook better pull up its socks because 2018 is looking to be a turbulent year full of trials and tribulations. Between power-hungry regulators in Europe, legislators that have been provoked over its role in election meddling and advertisers who are demanding further accountability for the billions that they pour into Facebook’s pockets.

It is guaranteed that its biggest weakness – its sheer scale – is going to be what holds Facebook back in 2018. Russian propagandists infiltrated Facebook’s ad system purely on the basis that it is not built for review, merely scale. The sheer size of Facebook makes it incredibly vulnerable to other infiltrations, which has been shown time and time again. Its size will also hold the giant back when it comes to advertising too. Advertisers are starting to scrutinise where their ads are running and to what effect. The plethora of analytical errors seen last year are bound to continue.

Publishers are starting to find their voices and are naturally, aggressively pressing the issue that Facebook is a media company and so it needs to be treated like one, and also held responsible legally as one.

Written by Lucia Moses, 5 January 2018, published on Digiday.com. Read the full article here.