At some point, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) went from a social networking site that folks used to share pictures of their vacations and stalk their exes to the biggest news source on the planet.
For the past couple of years, I’ve heard a number of experts opine on why most people get their news from Facebook. Most of it seems to be because their family members and friends share it.
But I don’t trust my family members and friends to post real news on Facebook.
For instance, I have a crazy racist uncle who shares articles about how microwaves spy on Americans and how all these immigrants keep taking all our jobs. This, coming from a man who’s been on disability for about twenty years, and quite frankly, could work if he chose to. But he chooses to suck off the government teat, which apparently affords him the luxury of having an Internet connection.
So no, I’m not going to look to his Facebook posts for my daily news reports.
Instead, I have come to rely on a select group of sources to provide me with quality reporting on all the horrible things that are going on in the world.
Facebook is NOT my news source. It’s where I go to stay in touch with people I never want to talk to in real life. And also to see how my ex-girlfriends look.
But apparently, I’m not the average Facebook user.
The average Facebook user, I guess, is the type of person who takes online surveys and welcomes malware with open arms. And loves the Kardashians, too.
This is why politicians exploit Facebook.
Because most Facebook users are dupes. And what do politicians like more than those who are easily duped? Access to their personal data.
This is what Facebook provides.
But Mark Zuckerberg isn’t forcing anyone to sign up and share their psychographic data.
So I don’t think the onus of responsibility should fall on Facebook, but instead, those who voluntarily use it.
I’m not saying Facebook has acted entirely honorably.
But the last I checked, acting dishonorably wasn’t a crime.
If it were, every oil company, big pharmaceutical company, and big bank would be out of business.
But they’re not.
They get investigated, pay a fine, and move on.
If Facebook does get investigated, this will also likely be the outcome.
The only thing Facebook has going against it is that it’s run mostly by progressives. If Obama was still in office or Congress was mostly liberal, it would be a quick dog and pony show and a slap on the wrist. But with a mostly conservative Congress and a president who wears the cloak of capitalism, but whose ideology is more aligned with that of Vladimir Putin instead of Milton Friedman, Zuckerberg’s crew is likely to get lit up in front of a panel of bureaucrats.
Still, I suspect little will happen, and Facebook will be just fine.
People will still use it, the company will still do deals with those who can pony up the cash, and my crazy racist uncle will continue to share any story he finds that is aligned with his own, whacked-out senses of reality.
Facebook shares could likely fall further in the meantime, but at some point this thing is going to stabilize, at which time it’ll present a nice opportunity to pick up some cheap shares of a company that lives and dies by the actions of the foolish. And in the US, we got a whole mess of ‘em.