Kicking the habit won’t be easy.
It’s quite the spectacle. Facebook lost 20 percent of its market share on Thursday — the biggest price drop for a US stock ever, they say. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end — perhaps their follies are finally catching up to them? While we may all bask in a good dose of schadenfreude today, I fear that this may be short lived.
Facebook satisfies a need that other social networks do not fill. LinkedIn keeps you connected with your colleagues, WhatsApp connects you with those you speak to on a regular basis (more on this later), but Facebook provides you with a way to connect with people who you connect with less often. While it has other uses, such as providing an alternate news feed, multimedia and other vices, Facebook is at its core a social network.
This effectively means that if you wanted to go somewhere else if you were sick of Facebook, you would have nowhere to go. So although grandma now has an account on Facebook, which makes it way uncool, chances are you will not disconnect. Unlike popular movements of the past, such as #deleteuber, if you delete Facebook, its unclear which app you might download instead.
Let’s try a mental exercise just for fun. Let’s assume you bit the bullet and deleted Facebook (hats off to you). Chances are you are still a subject of one of Mr Zuckerberg’s many properties. Need to message a friend? Chances are you will use WhatsApp. Posting an artsy selfie? Chances are you are using Instagram.
Ultimately, even if you could do the deed, you would end up relying on a Facebook-owned app to get stuff done. WhatsApp has alternatives, such as telegram and Facebook messenger, but chances are most of your friends aren’t on them, so their use as a communications platform is hamstrung. Instagram is another story (get it?) though. If you really wanted to, you could use Snapchat. Honestly, you probably should.
How about the economic perspective — If we all deleted Facebook today, how would Facebook make money? eMarketer estimates that Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in U.S. ad revenue in 2018. So there’s that. Add the fact that Facebook has plans to charge businesses, to chat with consumers, through WhatsApp Business, and its quite plain to see that Facebook can weather this storm.
N.B. 4 years ago, I argued that Facebook was on its way out. Let me know if you think we will still be discussing Facebook in 2022.