Facebook Doesn’t Believe Recent Scandals Will Hurt Its Business
Facebook’s recent data privacy issues and the recent Cambridge Anlaytica scandal don’t seem like they will impact the company’s business.
That’s according to Facebook vice president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson who said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council event this week that the social networking giant is “not anticipating major changes to our overall revenue and business model.”
Everson also said that during the past month, Facebook users have not updated their account privacy settings amid a series of recent crises for the company that led to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attending two congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. this week. The hearings were intended to inform lawmakers of Facebook’s approach to data handling and privacy in the wake of recent revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Anlaytica improperly obtained data on up to 87 million Facebook users from the academic, Aleksandr Kogan.
Kogan built a personality quiz app on Facebook that captured data on Facebook (FB) users and then sold the information to Cambridge Anlaytica, which violated the company’s terms and policies. Facebook has said it may take legal action against Cambridge Analaytica, whose CEO stepped down during the second day of testimony of congressional hearings, and updated its developer platform so that outside coders could no longer obtain as much user data as they once could by building Facebook apps.
Everson’s comments reiterate similar comments Zuckerberg made during his testimonies in which he said that Facebook hasn’t noticed a significant drop in Facebook users nor a decline in current user activity on the social network.
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Analysts and investors keep close tabs on Facebook’s user statistics as a way to gauge the company’s financial health. The company’s core advertising business is dependent on its large user base.
Recent comments by Facebook executives also echo outside research conducted by analyst firms like Jefferies Equity Research. Jefferies said in an April research note that the firm “analyzed Facebook’s traffic over the course of March and believe that recent headlines around Facebook’s data policies have not meaningfully impacted engagement on the platform.“
Still, Zuckerberg conceded in a press briefing prior to his recent testimonies in Washington, D.C that despite not noticing a significant drop in Facebook users, the recent scandals are “not good.”
“We don’t want anyone to be unhappy with our services,” Zuckerberg said.
Lawmakers criticized Zuckerberg on Wednesday for the company’s repeated controversies regarding past data privacy issues and its repeated apologies. Future scandals could potentially damage the company’s reputation.
For now, investors also believe Facebook appears relatively unscathed with the company’s shares trading relatively flat on Friday at $164.59.