Editor’s note: This article is from WeChat public account “Understand Notes” (ID: dongdong__note).
One side is the Libra stable currency that may never see the future, and the other is the net profit of the second quarter. 35-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and 15-year-old Facebook have come to the fork of their own times.
This Tuesday, Facebook announced the progress of reading human brain research projects directly with computers. It is reported that the device allows people to directly input text using ideas in the brain. Currently, the researchers collaborate with three patients undergoing epilepsy treatment, implanting electrodes in the brains of these patients.
Like Elron Musk uses a computer to connect mice’s brains to read information, Facebook’s “brain” looks equally sci-fi. Perhaps as in sci-fi movies, computer-connected brains will become the norm in the future, but today it is still in the early stages of research, and for the long time to come, technology giants and top research institutions will maintain this The state of continuous investment.
And now Facebook is facing double pressure from the public and government regulators. Perhaps, compared to the “brain machine”, what the social networking giant needs now is to get the products as soon as possible.
Behind the $5 billion huge fine
In the early morning of July 25, Facebook announced its second quarter earnings for the 2019 fiscal year ending June 30. According to the financial report, Facebook’s second-quarter revenue was 16.86 billion US dollars, an increase of 28% over the same period last year. However, in terms of net profit, its net profit for the quarter was $2.616 billion, a 49% decrease from the same period last year, due to the huge US$5 billion fines from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
From another point of view, while receiving huge fines, it can also get a net profit of 2.616 billion US dollars, Facebook is called a super printing machine. At the same time, the overall revenue and active users have also increased to a certain extent. This kind of achievement is already a very good result for Facebook, which has been established for 15 years.
But all of this growth does not represent a lifting of risk for Facebook.
In terms of revenue structure, Facebook still relies heavily on advertising revenue. According to the financial report, Facebook’s revenue from advertising business in the second quarter was US$16.624 billion (98.4% of total revenue), up 28% from US$130.38 billion in the same period last year. Among them, mobile advertising accounted for about 94%, an increase of 3%.
Under this revenue structure, Facebook has faced double trials of government regulation and user questioning in the past few quarters. Privacy leaks and black clouds suspected of monopoly have always been around their side. Although it can’t be regarded as a “wall push”, the privacy leak has caused Facebook to be investigated by many countries around the world. Zuckerberg himself has also attended the hearing in the US Congress and accepted questions from all parties.
In the end, Facebook suffered different degrees of penalties in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Turkey, Brazil and other countries. The fine that Facebook accepted in the United States was to pay $5 billion to reach a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Zuckerberg himself also lost the final decision on privacy.
Maybe $5 billion is not a big deal for Facebook, which earned $56 billion last year. But the negative impact of the privacy breach on Facebook, including the mistrust of global users and government departments, is even more serious. The negative effects of such mistrust may be longer.
In a recent earnings conference call, Facebook’s CFO David Wiener said it expects the company’s constant monetary revenue growth rate to continue to slow, with a more pronounced slowdown in the fourth quarter and 2020. The main reason for this is “the resistance and uncertainty associated with ad targeting.”
He believes that Facebook will face some huge challenges next. The first is regulatory change, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Act last year, which is designed to give individuals the power to control their data, including the ability to require companies to disclose their data usage or to require it to destroy data.
The second one is about the operating system, privacy issues, and possible impact on measurement goals. Wiener said: “For Apple or Google’s mobile operating system, stricter privacy rules may be a challenge for Facebook’s ability to track or collect user information.”
In addition to privacy regulation, antitrust investigations have followed. On July 24, the US Department of Justice said it was conducting an extensive antitrust investigation to determine whether a dominant technology company was illegally stifling competition, and Facebook was one of its targets. Regarding Facebook’s questioning, the survey agency emphasized that “the entire online advertising expenditure was occupied by both the company and Google.
After being finally recognized as a monopoly, advertising revenue for Facebook will be a serious impact. After all, there are not a few Internet companies waiting to eat Facebook advertising cakes, and competitors such as Twitter and Snap have long been eyeing.
Obviously, Facebook has been expanding its new business in the face of its revenue structure, such as the launch of the stable currency Libra. However, due to the size of Facebook’s users, Libra’s launch attracted unprecedented attention and attracted unprecedented criticism.
Libra may never see the future
As Facebook is currently the most valued and most controversial project, Libra is not going well. Zuckerberg said in a conference call after the release of the new earnings report that business and payment are the investment focus of product development in the next few years. This also shows that he attaches great importance to the project.
At the same time, due to concerns that Libra will compete with existing sovereign currencies in various countries, a number of developed countries, including the United States, are cautious about Libra. Not long ago, the US House Financial Services Committee held a hearing specifically for Facebook Libra. Libra project leader David Marcus attended the hearing and answered many questions from members.
Some Members are worried: “The dollar means we can influence the world economic order. How will Libra affect the US dollar?” Marcus responded: “We don’t want to compete with the US dollar. We are actively talking with organizations such as the Federal Reserve to ensure that it will not Impact on the US dollar.”
However, compared to the US regulatory authorities, the G7’s attitude toward Libra seems to be tougher. According to previous Reuters reports, the G7 finance minister and the central bank have said that digital cryptocurrencies, including Facebook Libra, have caused great concern and must be given the most stringent regulation to ensure Does not affect the global financial system.
In the face of doubts, Facebook is also very determined to carry out the project. David Marcus revealed that Libra leaders are working hard to cooperate with G7 and Switzerland to solve the problem of supervision and trust. However, while Libra was firmly committed, it still issued a warning to investors Facebook.
In the second quarter earnings report