A slew of issues and scandals related to privacy breaches and fake news, many are expecting the largest social media company in the world Facebook to report a rare drop in its profits later in the week.
According to the predictions of analysts, he company would report a net profit of $4.7bn for the first quarter compared to a profit of $5bn for the same period a year ago.
There has been intense pressure on the company to governments and authorities all across the world to increase the quality of the platform.
Such a quarterly drop in profits would be a first for the company since mid-2015.
According to predictions made by analysts, the profits for the company for the entire of 2019 would also come lower than what it generated last year at $28.7bn. The reason for such a drop, as predicted, is because of the expenses being made by Facebook to fight and reduce fake news and illegal content as well as enhancing security to reduce incidents of data breaches and to ally privacy concerns.
However, despite the scandals and close regulatory scrutiny, Facebook has managed to continue to attract more users and advertisers and analysts anticipate its first quarter turnover to increase from $12bn in last quarter of last year to $15bn.
The two major scandals that rocked Facebook include the alleged use of the platform by suspected Russian operators to influence the 2016 US presidential elections and the use of personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent by Cambridge Analytica, a London based political consultancy that was hired by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Earlier this month, New Zealand’s privacy commissioner labelled Facebook as “morally bankrupt pathological liars” following the terrorist attack in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed which was livestreamed by one of the killers on the largest social media platform of the world. Following the attacks, Zuckerberg, in an interview, did not make any commitment to bring in any change in the live technology of the platform – including how livestreaming can be done on it.
Last week, Facebook, also the owner of Instagram, admitted that an earlier breach that had been announced by the company had failed to accurately estimate the number of users affected by the incident – adding that millions more than it had previously announced had been affected by the breach. In that incident, Facebook had mistakenly stored the passwords of hundreds of millions of users without encryption.
Major reforms have however been promised by Zuckerberg. In order to better manage and identify fake news and violent videos, the company has made recruitment of thousands of additional content reviewers. It is also making use of artificial intelligence to identify and to prevent fake news and hate speech from being published o the platform.
It is worth mentioning however that the company had spent $22.6m on the security of Zuckerberg last year as it had more than doubled the budget.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)