Recently FB has fallen into another privacy scandal. It was shown that Facebook had targeted teenagers with a market research app which saw them hand over lots of personal information in exchange for a monthly fee!
Apple accused Facebook that used this the app, which was distributed to consumers via a platform designed to allow organizations to share private apps with employees. Facebook’s use of this system was limited from employees unable to see the lunch menu or the bus timetable.
Meanwhile, a more serious crisis for the company’s reputation immerged: Instagram, owned by Facebook was accused of failing to protect young people from disturbing content about suicide. Molly Russell’s story, who took her own life in 2017 at the age of 14, appeared to highlight the dangers of a loose social media industry.
But then – actually nearly immediately – Facebook came out with record results – profits up nearly 40%, with 2.7 billion people using its products every month. It seems like Facebook’s business not suffers from the scandals.
Scandals at both Facebook and Google have led advertisers to question whether they are safe places to promote brands. Regulation might be needed more than ever. This week saw British MPs call for a new code of practice for social media, with firms like Facebook having a legal duty of care to make sure users under 18 do not come to harm.
The last couple of years the world took some notable distance from FB. So far that has not affected its bottom line but if a combination of regulators, concerned parents and advertisers will ask for a reform, that could change.