The social-media giant’s stock price took a spectacular nose dive Thursday after the company forecast a slowdown in the rate of new user sign-ups. Analysts reckon Facebook’s limp response to the European Union’s recently enacted digital privacy laws also soured investors on its near-term financial future.
While Zuckerberg spent the first half of 2018 listening to but not really hearing complaints about how Facebook mishandles user data, it’s a good bet he’s listening now. All told, Thursday’s trading vaporized $119 billion of the Menlo Park, Calif., company’s market value. That’s roughly the equivalent of the gross domestic product of Kuwait.
Public patience with Zuckerberg’s often unconvincing — and at times duplicitous — statements about the heroic lengths Facebook goes to protect user data appears to have come to an end. A rolling tide of revelations this year about persistent privacy breaches has eviscerated Facebook’s credibility on the issue. People have been logging off in droves.
Facebook has long claimed that its mission is to develop social infrastructure and — *gag* — build community. That no longer passes the giggle test. What they really want to do is follow people around the Internet, collect and organize what they learn and sell that information to the highest bidder.