For my clients, I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook every month.
So, what does this mean to marketers—and to everyone else?
In Washington DC, there was an interrogation. Two days of intense hearings, one by the Senate, one by the House.
It was brutal, but not as brutal as it could be.
The anticipation was that Mark Zuckerberg would fall flat on his face … that he would completely fail … that it would be embarrassing and damaging to Facebook.
Here are 5 takeaways:
#1: The Senators had no idea what they were talking about. Most of them simply wanted to make political points. Many of them were inaccurate and incoherent with regards to what Facebook is and how it functions.
#2: Mark Zuckerberg’s answers were often evasive, incomplete and off-base. But in a situation like this, where the interrogators only have a few minutes to ask questions, few held him accountable. While he did not do great – and if you watch the hearings, he was not impressive – the perception is that he did well. That’s reflected in the Facebook stock price and among professionals.
#3: Zuckerberg called for regulation, but regulation would be the worst thing. Regulation will protect Facebook from competition. And Facebook will become even more powerful because of it. What’s needed are free market forces that will keep it competitive, and new technology and innovations able to nibble away at Facebook’s power.
This is what happens: Politicians make the terrible mistake of thinking they can control the future. They cannot run the VA. They cannot run the post office. They can’t run the FBI and the Justice Department. The government is an absolute failure, and they would fail at regulating Facebook … except that Facebook would be smart enough to make regulations to their favor.
#4: Expect small changes on Facebook to give the appearance of addressing issues of privacy and transparency. But it will not be affecting marketers and I don’t anticipate any changes.
#5: Expect censorship to continue. Regarding Facebook’s algorithms that have been censoring specific content: Expect them to continue. Senator Cruz and others interrogated Zuckerberg about Facebook’s discrimination against conservatives, Libertarians and Christians. Cruz read a long list of conservative sites that Facebook had censored, to which Zuckerberg responded that he was also concerned about discrimination. If anything, this hearing put that in the spotlight.
Finally: For more insights and actionable advice on Facebook and best marketing practices, see the following articles:
Here are the rest of this week’s articles: