30 December 2016

The Power of Facebook

Today’s article deals with the power that Facebook has gained during the last years over the whole world. The social network, which got founded on the 4th of February 2004 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States became in the recent years so powerful, that even the founder Mark Zuckerberg is scared of it as it sometimes seems. After all his own invention didn’t have an insignificant influence on this year’s Presidential election in the United States and contributed to the victory of Donald Trump in the decisive US federal states. And that’s why on the 20th of January there will be an inauguration of a new President of the United States who had hired most likely one of the best Social Media Big Data strategists and that had a big impact on his victory. The specialist company Cambridge Analytica apparently had big influence on the online election campaigns of Donald Trump as it had already earlier this year in June with the successful Brexit campaign on Facebook and Co. Marie Le Pen from the French party Front National got also aware of that and she will high likely hire this company for next year’s Presidential election in France 2017. More information you can find on BBC and watch the interview.

Source, Pixabay.com

But let’s come back to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. When Donald Trump invited the top leading Silicon Valley companies to a round-table meeting in New York on the 12th of December most of the big names appeared, e.g. Google Co-Founder Larry Page. Zuckerberg himself didn’t appear and had sent Sheryl Sandberg (CEO) to this meeting to represent Facebook. Apparently he didn’t feel so well about this meeting, especially that the Facebook algorithm was made co-responsible that he was able to win in the decisive federal states. In general it was obvious that most Silicon Valley companies actively supported the campaign of Hilary Clinton and the Democrats. From the big companies only PayPal Founder Peter Thiel supported Donald Trump within the so-called most important Tech Centre in the world. Trump confronted the Tech giants during the election campaign that they are producing too little in the United States and that they are not giving back enough to the US society. He denounced several times that by now almost all electric devices are produced in Far East. Also the fact that overall too little tax money goes back to the United States was one of the discussed topics during the election campaign. And to bring this into the spotlight of media attention wasn’t seen as very positive by the Tech giants. With the victory of Donald Trump against expectations the Silicon Valley deciders now have to find a way, how to arrange them best with the new US president.

But coming back to the main title of this blog article, what makes Facebook so powerful? On one hand Facebook does have with over 1.7 Billion users an immense range. On the other hand many people seem to obtain their news only from Facebook and therefore lose an objective media picture. This was mentioned as a big problem during the US presidential election and as challenge for the next upcoming European elections 2017 in France, Germany and the Netherlands. A very good article about what is all possible in terms of Big Data and how easy it is to control every minute of ones behaviour on Facebook was published by the Swiss magazine DasMagazin about how it has affected the outcome of the US elections.

The topic Facebook and its increasing power in all areas of life will be also an element in the new year 2017 and we will observe it and keep you informed about future developments on our blog.