Do the Math: Facebook Lost $1000 Stock Value for Every Profile Cambridge Analytica Harvested

Techlash keeps snowballing. Only 16 months ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed Facebook’s influence on the US presidential election as a “pretty crazy idea”. He has apologized several times since, but the controversy has kept growing. As The Guardian and New York Times have revealed, Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 50 Million Facebook users and built a system to influence the American voters. Classic investigative journalism, when Channel 4 reporters caught Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix on video boasting about how they influenced the US election. Nix has since been suspended pending investigation.

Facebook now suffers in four different ways: users, government, advertisers and stock. Users have responded by quitting the social media platform (ironically often announcing it on… Facebook) under the #deletefacebook flag. Calls for regulation increase, which has pressed Zuckerberg to accept the idea. UK Parliament has summoned Zuckerberg for questioning. Advertisers threaten to pull out of the platform. But maybe worst, the share value has plummeted – down almost 50 Billion dollars. Do the math: that is $1000 lost stock value for every user profile Cambridge Analytica harvested. It appears top management saw it coming: in the weeks before the leak was revealed, five Facebook bosses (Zuckerberg included) sold $1,251,992,375 worth of shares. Impressive timing!

There used to be a time when many talked about Facebook as the bringer of democracy. Now, it looks more like its undertaker. How far will Facebook fall? Has it reached rock bottom yet? Or is there more to come? One thing is clear, the catch-all phrase against all kinds of criticism “we’re just a tech company” won’t fly anymore.

Netopia’s question is: when Facebook tells us it is free and always will be – is that really so? What happens if or when Facebook starts losing money? And what happens to the data they have on us if Facebook gets desperate? This will get worse before it gets better.