Steve Jobs once said that Apple makes products that consumers don’t even know they need. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg (who is called the “untouchable” person in the tech world) by the newspapers is different: Creating products that users blatantly declare they do not want.
Instagram for Kids, the version of the photo-sharing app intended for children under 13, is causing a wave of outcry before its release. Last week, the attorney general of 40 states in the US wrote a letter asking Zuckerberg to abandon his plan to launch the app, saying that “use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account.”
Cryptocurrency Diem (formerly Libra) also faced a similar wave of opposition when it was announced in 2019. This week, Facebook said the project would shift its focus to creating a “stable coin” which value is pegged to some relatively stable asset such as the US dollar), while moving operations from Switzerland to the US.
Finally, WhatsApp’s terms of service have a chance, which is designed to help Facebook turn the messaging app into an e-commerce platform. Facebook’s plan has been met with backlash for months, prompting many users to switch to other messaging platforms such as Signal and Telegram.
With a business operating with the motto “fast-moving” like Facebook, all of the above negative feedback is more than an inconvenience. How could a company develop well if every time a new product is announced, users are not only not excited, but also wary and opposed?
As a network of platforms with a total of 3.45 billion users and a lot of important users who do not want to adopt an existing or upcoming product, Facebook will face the problem of “eliminated.”
Authorities can ban one company from buying another, and large businesses often halt mergers and acquisitions while under scrutiny. However, a technology company cannot stop launching new products. In today’s fast-paced technology market, that is no different from receiving a “death sentence.”
The lesson Facebook has taught us in its 17 years of existence is that in the free internet economy, the most valuable asset of a business is the trust of its users.
Zuckerberg’s company treated that asset as if it had no value and squandered it for years. And now, it has become their biggest burden.
At the end of April, Apple released iOS 14.5 operating system, which allows users to block apps that track their activities and collect data for advertising purposes.
According to statistics, up to 96% of users in the US have “banned” Facebook from tracking their activities. Before being released, iOS 14.5 was strongly opposed by Facebook because the platform mainly profited from advertising.