Facebook is fucked

I love it when my non-tech, non-startup friends are going mental over a new product or service. To me, this is one of the best early indicators that a startup has gone mainstream. A few years ago, this happened for the first time when everyone around me started inviting me to become Farmville neighbours. With Tinder it happened again. All of a sudden, several of my friends were bragging how they were on a dating streak thanks to a new mobile dating app. As I’m aware of most of their personal track records, this instantly caught my attention. It appeared to be Tinder. Yet again, a startup had gone mainstream.

After last week’s What’s App acquisition by Facebook, my mainstream alarm bells rang once more. A few days later, I was asked whether I had already installed Telegram on my phone. I had no idea what my friends were talking about. I never heard of Telegram before. But obviously, something had gone mainstream again. What happened afterward was even more interesting. When I installed the app a week ago, I had about 4 active contacts on Telegram. Fast forward to this morning, and it’s nearly 30.

This got me thinking: What does that say about people’s current attitude towards Facebook? I don’t know how about you, but it looks to me like it’s pretty fucked. Think about it. There was a time, not so long ago, when it was actually cool to be on Facebook. Hollywood was even crazy enough to make a movie about Zuckerberg’s startup adventure. Those days now seem long gone. People seem to hate Facebook nowadays. Even President Obama knows it.

I guess the lesson here is that if you keep squeezing more money from the same group of people, eventually they’re gonna hate you for it. Especially when there’s no true innovation in your product to compensate for the increasing stream of ads. Before too long, your once loyal customers hate you so much, that they’re willing to abandon a product with a lot of goodwill the very moment you touch it. And what’s probably even worse:

Many people rather trust a Russian-founded startup with their personal data than Facebook.

I find this striking, and a very bad sign for Facebook. I’m not so sure the Telegram trend will carry through, as I believe switching costs are probably still too high for the masses. But it does seem to me that Facebook’s momentum is fading. A company with so many unhappy customers has a serious problem in my opinion.

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