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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently spoke with US lawmakers about privacy and data. Some Congress members used the talks as an opportunity to ask questions, and thanks to the data and privacy updates that Facebook made in the weeks before the talks, Zuckerberg was able to answer the politicians.
Here’s what companies and marketers should take away from the talks:
The privacy controls that Facebook is implementing to comply with GDPR in Europe will spread globally, but affirmative consent may be different by region. Zuckerberg said that governments will be able to regulate Facebook, but regulation methods will differ from country to country.
Facebook didn’t rule out a subscription model to opt out of ads, but a paid version is unlikely to be developed. Zuckerberg indicated that the company will continue to make Facebook free for everyone. Otherwise, Facebook would have to charge high fees to recover lost ad revenue, especially in the US and in Canada.
Here’s how much ad revenue Facebook generated per monthly active user across the globe in 2017 (excluding revenue generated from Instagram and WhatsApp):
- US & Canada = $82.44
- Europe = $26.94
- Asia-Pacific = $8.86
- Rest of World = $6.15
- Worldwide = $19.84
Facebook continues to deny it’s a media company but agrees that it’s responsible for the content posted on its platform. Facebook will hire more employees and invest in artificial intelligence to combat abuse on its platform, and this will determine its long term success and transparency.
Regulation is inevitable, but will be gradual. Facebook backs the Honest Ads Act, which requires disclosure of political ad information. Zuckerberg mentioned that the company will further regulate what people see on Facebook.
Facebook will see little to no decline in US daily average users. Over three-quarters of Facebook’s US monthly active users access the app daily. While there will certainly be people leaving Facebook, most users will remain active in 2018.
Brands aren’t going to significantly slow their ad spend on Facebook. Ad revenue growth in 2018 will not change much. This is because Facebook has data that is only accessible to companies who choose to advertise through them.
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