Initially designed and created to be primarily (if not solely) instantaneous global connectivity, the rise of digital communication platforms has come with the inevitable surge of user activity and consumer trust. Up until the last few years, this consumer trust was air tight, but there has been a seemingly increasing number of incidents surrounding privacy infringement on the behalf of some of these platforms, even despite privacy agreements when users sign up to said platforms. The rise of social media has seen the introduction and further evolution of many social media platforms, each of which have been a tremendous success in their own right. Perhaps none of them have been as highly successful as Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, however. One of the first social media platforms to go live (and the first to achieve longevity among changing dynamics of the tech world), Facebook is the founding father of social media development and advancement.
While other social media companies invested heavily in the assistance of modern advertising and even an online marketing consultant to further their exposure and user percentages, Facebook has maintained its structural integrity on its own. Until now. The perception of the future of social media giant Facebook has taken a decidedly grim turn, as company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stopped selling company stock for the first time in over two years. In the last few months of 2018, Zuckerberg sold zero company stock. This cease in financial income bracket has come as something of a surprise to some, particularly as Zuckerberg stated back in September of 2017 that he was going to sell between 35 million to 75 million Facebook shares over eighteen months as art of his philanthropic plan to give away nearly all his fortune during his lifetime. As it stands, Zuckerberg has sold approximately 30.4 million shares. This number is worth about $5.6 billion.
Zuckerberg’s multi-billion stock took a dramatic fall, and the shares have now dropped by 38%. This fall in the social media empire’s market value comes from a record $218.62 per share (as of 23rd July 2018). It is widely believed that the most significant drop in the company’s share value is due to the increase of significant controversy surrounding Facebook’s morality and sense of security for its billions of users. Zuckerberg has had to deal with mounting controversy surrounding Facebook’s dealings with permissions and privacy. Scandals that are likely to have played at least part of Facebook’s falling value include the shared messages with Netflix, Spotify, and other companies last year, and the selling of data and extended access to “private” information to companies like Microsoft and Amazon. The company lost $118 billion in market value as of July 2018, which is attributed to slowed growth, rising costs, and the mentioned controversy.
Over the years, the rise of social media has come with the inevitable consequential increase in consumer use and privacy awareness – an awareness that, up until the last few years, has remained a strong advocate for the integrity of the social media websites that people trusted their information to. Facebook stock has been the most popular stock position for hedge funds leading into July (according to Goldman Sachs), but once the shares began to dip by 25%, the stock began to lag other technology companies by an increasingly significant margin. Over this last year, the consistent issues have risen in severity, and now the company is going through the legal system in the US fighting several legal battles, as well as dealing with copious media coverage detailing the “take down” of social media’s founding father. As all this has happened, Mark Zuckerberg, the mind behind the digital giant, has been made to cope with a significant fall in his net worth ($32.7 billion, to be exact), a fall that has seen him dropped to seventh on the Bloomsberg Billionaires Index (this is a listing of the richest people around the globe).
The founding father of social media, Facebook, was once the most popular social media platform of them all, and with 2.2 billion active users on the platform, it still maintains its presences as a titan of industry in social media. Despite this reality, however, Facebook’s market value has plummeted in the last six months, getting so low that Zuckerberg stopped selling company stock in this last quarter – the first time this has happened in more than two years. The damage, at least partially thanks to the privacy scandals that have rocked the company in recent years, will take years to fix, according to the man himself. But is that enough time? Facebook was already fading out as the reigning social media company. Can it survive five, even two more years to be fixed? Even if the answer is no, Facebook core owns Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp now as well, so chances are Zuckerberg – and his employees – will be just fine.