Facebook has been on its last legs for years, or so we thought. At every turn, it now seems to face greater criticism and greater opposition. Yet still, it seems to sail on.
It is perhaps a testament to the tenacity of the people at the top that they have managed to drag on this long. Most other companies, faced with the opposition that they have would have folded.
They are accused of being anti-competitive, of being complicit in rigging elections, of not being responsible for fraud on their site, of being banned in various counties and of trying to launch a digital currency that was doomed before it left the drawing board.
Still, Facebook has many millions of users, still many millions of people keep up with friends and ‘friends’ via the site, even as people grumble about it, and threaten to boycott it.
So, what, if anything will kill Facebook?
Criticism from Congress? Doubtful, and any law that this august body would pass would have no teeth left by the time it hit the statute books, many years from now. There are, however, more and more initiatives by Governments who want to rein it in, in the name of better competition.
Individual countries banning it is a more plausible idea, but many will not. Freedom of speech will prevail in enough countries for it to continue.
Facebook does seem to have an Achilles Heel, however, and that is in the payments space. When David Marcus joined Facebook from PayPal, he was made Emperor of Messenger and he had big plans. He saw Messenger as the app for everything. You would buy stuff, send stuff and pay for stuff via Messenger.
It didn’t happen.
Now, with its Libra digital currency, Facebook is trying again, even though – apparently – the Libra Association (now renamed the Diem Association) is entirely independent. It will launch next year but, as Richard Windsor says, it is destined to be the currency that no-one uses. Why would you, with so many easy, intuitive alternatives?
Facebook now feels too old and too established to do anything exciting enough to attract a whole new audience. Even its new initiatives have the feel of being ‘tweaks.’ Facebook is going local, Facebook is into dating, Facebook is, frankly, boring.
Old, established and fighting criticism and opposition on many fronts, Facebook trundles on, selling our data to make its money, not even sure what it is exactly – publisher or platform.
It is easy to say that Facebook is safe, that it is too big to fail.
But then you remember Kodak.