Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of GEM Advertising Peter Kozodoy published an op-ed recently outlining why he’s rethinking his investment in Facebook.
Peter Kozodoy published an op-ed to Inc.com recently discussing his faith, or lack thereof, in Facebook following the recent announcement by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that user timelines would now be focused more on posts from friends and family than from publishers and advertisers. Kozodoy notes that shortly after the announcement from Zuckerberg, Facebook’s stock price dropped by several points. Kozody explains in the article:
But the effects of the announcement on businesses that use Facebook to market, consumers who use Facebook for daily social interaction and even non-institutional investors is yet unclear, and has many — including yours truly — wondering about what this means for the fate of social media.
Wall Street’s love affair with Facebook has been largely predicated on its near-monopoly as a source of social interaction, content and news, a trifecta of offerings that has produced an addicted worldwide population that can’t get enough of the platform and its cat videos.
Kozodoy notes that regardless of Facebook’s decision to focus on posts from users friends and family, this is still in many ways, a form of limiting what Facebook users see and could be compared to censorship:
But the more (or most) pressing issue is that deciding to limit our exposure to close friends and family is a form of censorship. In fact, any way Facebook slices up my feed is a determined effort to pick and choose the things I see, and that power has incredible ramifications for how we should use (and believe) these platforms.
As a marketer and as an investor, I have to wonder what the future of Facebook and social media might be as we grapple with what have become serious, societal issues.
Kozodoy poses the question: what is Facebook, exactly? The company itself claims to be a social media platform while others have argued that Facebook has acted as a media company in the past. Kozodoy questions what it is that Facebook purports to be and whether or not there’s any room for marketers on Facebook’s platform in the future,
Is it an outlet to connect with friends and family? If so, I’m not sure marketing has a place in it at all. Is it a means by which we can all broadcast our opinions, and a platform that gives everyone a voice among the deafening clutter? If so, let’s just make it about who can shout the loudest, and throw brands and people together into the fray.
Between those two extremes is a gray area in which people might share their lives while not judging others, connect with friends and family while responsibly learning about new things, and interact with products and services that might be exactly aligned with what they need.
But that utopia requires us to put great personal responsibility onto the public — and given what we’ve seen these platforms used for, I’m not sure the public is ready.
Kozodoy is taking a cautious approach to Facebook, waiting to see how the updated newsfeed algorithm plays out before he decides whether or not to move his ad dollars elsewhere:
For now, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach. As long as consumers positively respond to targeted advertising campaigns, my company will most likely continue to use it on behalf of clients (that is, unless and until some horrific moral problem occurs that requires us to ethically distance ourselves from the platform altogether).
And as long as companies keep marketing on Facebook, investors will have a good reason to stay in, too.
I’m just hoping that, no matter what Facebook becomes, everyone gets more responsible with how we use it.
Read the full op-ed at Inc.Com.