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You're Welcome, Facebook
By: Jessica Cherok
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Facebook turned a profit in the second quarter, and they did so largely off of your information. How does that make you feel?

When Facebook went public in 2012, expectations were high. But the social media giant performed dismally, leaving many to lose faith in their earning potential. This week, however, Facebook posted its biggest earnings since its initial debut — $333 million.

Facebook attributed its increased performance to a 41% increase in mobile ads sales. The increase in mobile sales contributed to a 61% increase in overall ad revenue, which makes up 88% of Facebook’s revenue. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said of the increase, “The work we’ve done to make mobile the best Facebook experience is showing good results and provides us with a solid foundation for the future.”

The numbers are impressive. Facebook deserves a pat on the back.

In reality, you, the user, deserve a pat on the back, too. After all, Facebook couldn’t have done it without you. Most specifically, without your personal information.

The reason Facebook, and other social media sites, are so attractive to advertisers is because of the incredible amount of information they collect about their users. Facebook in particular collects an unprecedented amount — an estimated 500 terabytes per day.

That gargantuan amount of data is then used to entice advertisers. Companies can purchase information from Facebook’s database to create ads and target them to potential consumers. Big data is big business, and advertisers will pay heftily.

Well, they’ll pay heftily to Facebook. Not you.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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