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Social networks, sunk in the worst crisis in their history: why they don’t stop falling

The rise of the social networks he was tied to the rocket of algorithms. This is how these platforms, in the short term, managed to monopolize traffic, audience and profits. However, the good times ran out of fuel and in the midst of this debacle Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Twitter, Snapchat and even TikTok seem to be shipwrecking.

The main reasons for this collapse are attributed to the lack of originality: it is enough that a function is patented for the rest to imitate it openly. And also to the eternal dilemma of privacy: which black hole does personal data end up in.

This deterioration leads to a loss of audience and a progressive decrease in advertising, something that prevents these giants from continuing to grow. at the same rate of the last decade.

Estimates of benefit for the sector were reduced, on average, by 53% in the last year. The most affected were Snap (Snapchat) and Pinterest which, in the last 10 months, went from calculating profits to questioning losses.

Social networks are going through the worst moment in their history. AP Photo

These days, Snapchat lives dramatic hours on the stock market, with annual losses of 81%. Something similar happens to Meta, which resigns 73% in the exercise. The Chinese Tencent (Wechat) and Weibo also leave 57% and 46% respectively, in 2022.

To end up in this gorge, in most cases, it is because the same patterns are repeated: controversial decisions, bad investments and lack of projection in the medium term.

Meta imbalances

Meta is at a difficult crossroads.  AFP

Meta is at a difficult crossroads. AFP

Facebook’s 2022 crisis began at the end of October with negative results, followed by a flurry of layoffs and an insinuation that mark zuckerberg he could abdicate his throne for his lack of perspective.

Thus, the shares of Meta Platforms, after recording a sharp drop in their net earnings, lost 23% on the Nasdaq and wiped out $80 billion of their market value at the stroke of a pen.

For the first time in 18 years, the wild growth stopped and Facebook, as the New York Times points out, lost almost half a million users during the fourth quarter of this year.

The big problem is that Meta is in the midst of an identity crisis. While the compass of Mark Zuckerberg points to the metaversehis faithful march in another direction.

Meanwhile, investors exhaust their calm, demand dividends and all spin in a wheel that has no escape. Something similar happens to instagramembarked on a war against TikTok that cost it growth and advertisers.

This cumulative wear and tear is the product of reputational crises and scandalous leaks that have occurred over the years in the company’s environment.

Facebook lived a advertiser boycottthe incendiary leak of the Facebook papers and the growing legislative and judicial pressure against Meta and its position in the market, both in the European Union and in the United States.

The internal chaos of Twitter

Twitter is one of the smallest and fastest growing networks.  Statista data.

Twitter is one of the smallest and fastest growing networks. Statista data.

After some reverse marches, finally, Elon Musk paid the 44,000 million dollars of this small network (345 million users) if it is compared with the size of the leaders (Facebook reaches 2,940 million), with slow growth in the number of users (between 1.3 and 1 ,6 per year), but very influential in public debate.

The assumption of the tycoon only aggravated the crisis that Twitter had already been suffering for a long time. His first week in power sowed criticism, issued threats and signed dismissals.

Later, he wanted to reinvent the verification system by charging $8 to obtain it. He later emailed his entire team saying they had a choice: resign and receive three months’ pay, or put up with a new “harsh” work culture to create Twitter 2.0.

Musk’s excuse for causing these conflicts is that he loses a lot of money and that the way to monetize the network. But her hasty decisions and her little consensus sink her more and more into the mud.

Elon Musk's temper sinks TikTok.  AFP photo.

Elon Musk’s temper sinks TikTok. AFP photo.

The billionaire confessed to his employees that he loses 4 million dollars daily and that “the economic outlook is alarming.” He finished off his statement by saying that “bankruptcy cannot be ruled out.”

In the stock market, these erratic slaps are scary. And although it is evident that it has many plans in the pipeline, Twitter lives on its advertisers. And all this lawlessness expels them.

A report published by The Washington Post states that in the last two weeks more than a third of its advertisers -Volkswagen, Carlsberg, REI, United Airlines, General Motors or L’Oreal- chose not to appear on the platform.

Added to the list are the cereal maker Kellogg’s, the pharmaceutical company Merck, the Boston Beer brewery, plus Jeep and Mars Candy. These last two were positioned among the 10 most important.

Another worrisome stumbling block is that the new owner is not politically impartial, raising fears of growing misinformation, hate speech, conspiracies and trolls.

The dark side of TikTok

TikTok generates mistrust for what it hides.

TikTok generates mistrust for what it hides.

Although the pace of the advertisers remained constant, its complications, although it sounds contradictory, are related to everything it hides in its networks and the information it omits.

Research published last week by New York University’s Cybersecurity for Democracy team suggests that the platform was not leaking large volumes of electoral misinformation in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Those fears are compounded by TikTok’s hermetic structure that does not support external audits.

While Twitter and Meta (via their internal search engine called Crowdtangle) make their Application Programming Interface (API) public, for researchers to pull data from the platforms.

These questions are not restricted to the United States. The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) filed several complaints for alleged privacy violations and point out that its privacy policy, terms and conditions are misleading.

“They do not inform consumers about the identity of the companies with which they share their data. The app has changed its privacy policy. However, most of our key concerns remain. Their practices are not in line with EU laws.”

The dark side of TikTok.  AFP photo

The dark side of TikTok. AFP photo

The nonprofit organization Mozilla warned, on the eve of the 2022 Kenyan elections, that the platform was “failing its first real test” to curb disinformation at crucial political moments.

In total, more than 130 videos were located containing fake election-related news, hate speech, and incitement against communities leading up to the vote, which collectively garnered more than 4 million views.

“Instead of learning from the mistakes of more established platforms like Facebook and Twitter, TikTok is following suit,” wrote Odanga Madung, a Mozilla researcher.


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