Yesterday, as stocks rebounded from Monday's slide, Facebook Inc. continued its decline; it dropped 3.92% from open to close Monday and another 4.8% by midday yesterday, all following weekend reports that a political analytics firm named Cambridge Analytica collected personalized data on 50 million users without their consent.
That's not true.
The "without consent" part, that is.
There was no "breach," nor a "hack." Users voluntarily answered surveys created by Cambridge Analytica by participating in an app called "thisisyourdigitallife."
Facebook makes its money by harvesting highly personalized information from users that it then uses to accurately target advertising, content, and other data. That's often sold, manipulated, and shared in ways many customers naively don't think about or even realize.
What got everybody so riled up in this case is the fact that it was apparently used for political purposes – not just to sell you a new toothbrush or tell you about the luxury life somebody else is living at a resort in the Maldives.
The very notion of online privacy is long gone.
Not to rub it in, but you may as well write down the most intimate details of your life and staple them to a telephone pole if you're on social media. The Russians and Chinese don't have to hack us, nor does an "enemy" state, or even a fleabag terrorist, for that matter.
Anybody can find nearly anything and everything they want to know these days online via the biggest and best organized voluntarily constructed databases in human history, including Facebook.
That said, this episode is a game changer from an investment standpoint. People are apparently just waking up to something you and I have talked about for years – namely, that Silicon Valley's elite has very little accountability to the rest of us, and little to no understanding of the societal impact their "products" have on the world.
Facebook has a number of significant problems right now, which is why I want you to keep it on a very short leash.
I'll tell you how in a second.