Wall Street Journal op-ed by Mark Zuckerberg explains how ad targeting works … Again
The big picture: The Facebook PR train keeps chugging away into 2019 with an op-ed from CEO Mark Zuckerberg published in WSJ. The piece mostly reiterates the points he made back in December 2018. This time Zuck seems to be trying to reach investors instead of users.
Facebook’s PR blitz continues, this time with an op-ed penned by Mark Zuckerberg in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Facts About Facebook.” In it he explains that many people have questioned his business model, so he felt the need to clarify things.
“Recently I’ve heard many questions about our business model, so I want to explain the principles of how we operate,” he opens.
He then goes on to expound at length about how ad targeting works and how Facebook doesn’t sell users’ data. Much of it is the same spiel he posted on his personal Facebook page late last December. Only the venue (and the audience) has changed.
“People assume we do things that we don’t do. For example, we don’t sell people’s data, even though it’s often reported that we do.”
Instead of selling advertisers users’ information, it collects data from them and puts it into categories. It then sells ads that target these categories to the industry.
It has all been said before and is really quite telling. It would seem that Zuck wants to make sure that the message he sent to users reaches its investors and shareholders who may not even have Facebook accounts. What better place to do that than the Wall Street Journal?
A quick look at Facebook stock over the last six months shows why Mr. Zuckerberg may have thought extra effort to reach investors was necessary. Just in the last half of 2018, stock plummetted over 40 percent, falling from a high of $217.50 to $124.06 per share. It rallied back in December after his Facebook post to users, but only to $131 by year’s end.
Shares continue to recover in 2019, but not at a very impressive rate having regained only seven points since the first of the year.
While his WSJ piece is worded as if he is addressing users, it is much more likely he is targeting a different group. There is no shortage of negative press that Zuck and company have to fend off. Everything from Cambridge Analytica to trouble with the FTC still looms over the platform’s head. He has even admitted being “at war” with its bad publicity. So it should not come as a surprise this war is being waged on multiple fronts.