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Facebook And Cambridge Analytica Are Too Big To Fail
Quote:So, here's the thing: everyone that has some sort of window to the world around them has been made aware of the Facebook data scandal that's connected to Cambridge Analytica. Rivers of ink have already poured from journalists' metaphorical fountain pens. However, let's be honest: what real impact has this had on peoples' minds and overall level of comfort with debatable practices and data maintenance or access? What real impact is this having in the grand scheme of things, period?

Facebook exited its 1Q 2018 with record-setting numbers, for one. It just goes to show the entrenched fortress that Facebook has become, the efficiency of its advertising machine, the gargantuan state of dependency and the strength of network effects - everyone (well, not this editor) has one, and thus no-one wants to be left out. Even things as simple as how easy it is to login and register for different services by connecting a Facebook account leads people to stay - and thus the status quo is maintained. The $11.97 billion in revenue with $1.69 EPS that Facebook achieved in its Q1 report, alongside the increase in 48M daily active users should give everyone pause. Is this becoming a case of being too big to fail? What would be required for such a scenario to manifest itself? What sort of betrayal of customers' trust?
Which brings me to the firestarter of this small editorial: the situation with Cambridge Analytica. The company has recently filed for bankruptcy, but really, we all know how this works even before it's spelled out: a company like that, which was so successful until the lid was blown, just doesn't go under the water of its own will. No - it morphs; its management moves on to greener, newer pastures, moving along their connections, resources, market and client knowledge, and set up shop somewhere else, looking to continue their ways. It's true: Cambridge Analytica is dead. One face of it, at least. The other has emerged as Emerdata, a new company that has been set up in the last few months by Cambdrige Analytica's top executives. When your name is tainted and lawsuits loom, you can always just declare yourself dead and get a new identity. Saves so much trouble, doesn't it?

According to The New York times, Emerdata has been populated by Cambridge Analytica's (and parent company SCL) biggest investors, and brought in "talent" from their skeletons. According to the NYT's sources, re-branding Cambridge Analytica was the plan, with Nigel Oakes, an executive and partner of SCL Group, having publicly described Emerdata as "a way of rolling up SCL Group and Cambridge Analytica into one company". Alexander Nix, a former CEO of Cambridge Analytica (who was caught on tape talking about bribing and blackmailing politicians, and who resigned a few weeks ago alongside other SCL Group executives), has also joined Emerdata. So much for shaking the status-quo. So, long live Cambridge Analytica?
But maybe that ship has sailed. Maybe the solution is trying and creating a stronger network effect of choosing not to partake in shady business practices and data collection scandals - that would likely be the best way to make companies change. People are more than consumers, and consumers should be more than numbers.
Quote:The Cambridge Analytica data debacle was billed as Facebook's biggest crisis, but it looks like it didn't even leave a scratch on the company.

Facebook weathered the worst of the storm and usage actually increased, according to a client note from Goldman Sachs, citing ComScore figures. In other words, the #deleteFacebook backlash never really arrived.

Goldman Sachs said Facebook's US unique users on mobile rose 7% year-on-year to 188.6 million in April, when the scandal was biting hard. Time spent on Facebook also went up. The graph below says it all.
And there's more good news for Facebook. Deutsche Bank said its advertising system checks had shown that the purge of 583 million fake accounts following Russian interference in the US election has had "little to no impact on audience reach." It produced a graph revealing that ad targeting across all demos has actually grown.
But then Zuckerberg has already suggested that Facebook has seen little impact from Cambridge Analytica in terms of user engagement. He told Congress an immaterial number of users deleted their accounts as a result of the scandal.

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