It’s been a tough year for Facebook. The social networking juggernaut found itself engulfed by controversies over fake news, electoral interference, privacy violations, and a broad backlash to smartphone addiction. Wall Street has noticed: The company has lost almost $100 billion in market value in recent weeks.
Behind Facebook’s hard year is a collision between the company’s values, ambitions, business model, and mind-boggling scale. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has long held that the company’s mission is to make the world more open and connected — with the assumption being that a more open and connected world is a better world. That assumption has been sorely tested over the past year. As we’ve seen, a more open world can make it easier for governments to undermine each other’s elections from afar; a more connected world can make it easier to spread hatred and incite violence.
In 2017, Facebook hit more than 2 billion monthly users — and that’s to say nothing of the massive user bases of Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp. There is no way to track, or even understand, all that is happening on Facebook at any given time. Problems that look small in the moment — like organized disinformation campaigns mounted by Russia — reveal themselves, in retrospect, to be massive, possibly even world-changing, events.
“I think we will dig through this hole, but it will take a few years,” Zuckerberg said. “I wish I could solve all these issues in three months or six months, but I just think the reality is that solving some of these questions is just going to take a longer period of time.”
As it was reported earlier, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg lost $5.1 billion the day after Cambridge Analytica's data misuse was revealed - nearly 7%, through 1 pm Eastern Time on Monday, erasing $37 billion of market value. The decline had the biggest impact on Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, whose net worth fell $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.
Zuckerberg, who owns about 16% of Facebook's shares, is now worth an estimated $69.5 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires. He is currently the seventh-richest person on the planet, down from fifth, after falling behind Zara co-founder Amancio Ortega and Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico’s richest person.