The co-founder of venture capitalist firm Rivet Ventures stated in a recent interview that of all the large tech firms currently operating, Facebook is the most vulnerable to disruption.
CNBC reports that Rebeca Hwang, the co-founder and managing director of Rivet Ventures, spoke with CNBC at a panel the publication hosted at the Davos Sanctuary. During the panel, Hwang discussed the future of social media giant Facebook and how of all the current Silicon Valley giants, Facebook was the most open to disruption following a year of scandals and user data breaches.
In 2018, it was revealed that the personal details of 87 million Facebook users had been harvested by a political consulting firm; later in the year, 50 million Facebook accounts were compromised in a cyberattack. Facebook also came under intense scrutiny after it was discovered that Russian-linked firms may have used the social media website to spread propaganda aimed at dividing Americans.
Speaking on the CNBC-hosted panel at Davos Sanctuary, Hwang stated: “I do think Facebook is in a very vulnerable place right now. Both seen from the perspective of the consumer reaction … but also from the perspective of the deal flow that I see and the types of companies that are trying to become the disruptors of a Facebook. In my opinion, they have to take very strong actions to maintain their position.”
Hwang believes that the heightened awareness of consumers around issues such as data privacy may provide a niche market for upcoming startups: “I think the ones that have become dominant, especially with younger generations, it’s also very challenging having that status. And so I don’t necessarily see a future where all of these giants will continue dominating forever. I think there will be disruptors in some of these areas by new players.”
Phil Chen, the managing director at venture firm Presence Capital, believes that blockchain technology may pose a threat to traditional Silicon Valley companies for this very reason. “That’s the hope, that’s the thesis. At the end of the day today, the big corporates, they have big central servers that hold everybody’s data. I think what bitcoin and blockchain really allows … is empowering people to own their own keys,” Chen told CNBC.
Chen described the benefits of blockchain technology for the average user saying: “Once you start owning your own keys, which is the means in which you own the cryptocurrency, then you start owning your identity, then you start owning your data, and that needs the whole crowd and the people to participate.”