Facebook is full of Dumb People. That’s the only possible explanation I have for the current issue about the current “what does FB to fix the breaches?” kerfuffle. The answer is simple: THEY STRIKE ALL ADVERTISING AND OUTSIDER APPS THAT REQUIRE YOU TO PROVIDE YOUR FB INFO.
There are currently 2.2 BILLION active monthly FB users. The great majority of them would likely pay a basic fee to have the service available with FB agreeing to provide no more specifics about people to any outside group. That would allow people to have their personal info protected, but FB would still make money selling aggregate data to outside agencies for use in determining sales strategies, new product feasibility, and all the other voodoo that such numbers are used for.
FB said it had revenues of $18 billion in 2017. So let’s crunch the numbers a bit:
217 MILLION of them are in the US (meaning the great majority of people in the US are on FB at least periodically). If FB charged $10/year, then with only HALF that number signing up, there’s about $1.9 BILLION coming in from the US alone. FB would want to put in a sliding scale for prices: you live in a rich/high cost of living place like Japan, for example, then you pay $20, while someone in Paraguay or Venezuala kicks in $3. Assuming 1/2 of the current FB users stay on, even with only $5/month on average, that’s $5 BILLION.
Yes, we’re not at $18 billion. BUT…
1) I think way more than half would stay on. FB is the biggest, most powerful player in the social media sphere, and I suspect most people would stay on for $1 a month (or the local equivalent).
2) If FB is smart, they make the service FREE for everyone under 18. That’s not much of an outright hit – users in that range only account for about 6% of FB’s user base – and if FB does that, it’ll be able to hike prices a bit because, simply put, users will be ADDICTED to the service by the time they hit adulthood. Now we’ve got a $15/year service instead of a $10/year one.
3) If FB is REALLY smart, they get rid of ads and all the other nonsense stuff we’ve seen and don’t charge us anything at all for a YEAR. It’s a big ad revenue hit, but after a year when we realize how awesome it is to have the “old style” FB back (those of us old enough to remember what it was like before it was 50% friends and 50% advertising), and now we’re up to $20/year. Or even better: $20/year OR $2/month. Lots of folks are going to take that $2/month option. That means that, assuming only 1.75 billion users stay on as paying customers (which I think is conservative, given again how important FB is as a part of our culture and social outlet, and how much better FB is going to be when it gets rid of a lot of the clutter that it had to institute once it had its IPO and had to figure out concrete ways for making money) at ta worldwide average of $20/year, we’re now at $20 BILLION DOLLARS.
And here’s the fun part: FB actually WOULD still get a lot of ad revenue, based solely off fanpages or corporate pages. My own fanpage costs me maybe $30/year, since every time I want to make sure ALL my fans see one of my posts I have to pay to make sure FB shows it to everyone. Imagine big corporate pages – Sony, Toyota, the movie studios and entertainment producers – and how much they will CONTINUE to pay whenever they want their followers to hear a particular message or ad, rather than hoping it goes viral (meaning everyone passes it around of their own accord “organically,” rather than having FB insert it into their posts).
This means that there would still be advertising, yes. But it would be less obtrusive, and since FB would mandate that all advertising originate with an official fanpage or business group with a presence on FB as a “user,” there would be a huge rollback in the number of irritating ads we see, while still allowing us to see more of the pages we actually follow and the Groups we join.
We’re well over $20 billion in yearly revenue without even breaking a sweat – with post boosting and related items, probably around $25 billion. Meanwhile, FB grows even faster as people realize that it provides a place where they see more of what actually matters to them and don’t have to worry about their identities being stolen or outside groups (Russia, the Trump campaign, etc.) misappropriating our personal information. I suspect this would also result in a lowering of FB’s security operating costs since every interaction ON FB would originate with a FB form that wouldn’t allow any kind of dithering around with “allowing access to your Facebook access, including friends, likes, etc,” and would come from an entity that FB already had a relationship with and – if necessary – could block at a touch of a button.
Five or ten years from this, FB doubles the price… and everyone stays. Because in this time FB has also started pushing VOIP-style “phone” services; secure, FB-users-only emails with unique FB URLs for brand identity; and a host of other services (I could think of a dozen without breaking a sweat) that create an environment where people are protected, while still having access to the social and business relationships that made FB a hit to start with – and which have been steadily eroded as FB gets deeper into a corporate model in which revenues must grow boundlessly by whatever means necessary in order to keep investors happy.
Five years, and FB’s yearly revenues are around $50 BILLION, and they are actually spending LESS per user due to the fact that it’s created a closed system that’s harder to infiltrate or misuse.
And, because we’re not there yet, and so FB monitors the crap out of us due to these same security problems and misuses, this last is addressed to whatever low-level FB peon is reading this: you’re welcome. I’m not greedy, so a check for .0001% of the gross revenue as a result of the institution of the above will more than suffice as a thank you.