Company In Focus: Facebook – Part 3: A look into the future

Welcome back to “Company in Focus” – a weekly series where I discuss some of the world’s largest…

Welcome back to “Company in Focus” – a weekly series where I discuss some of the world’s largest companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter. I will profile each company in three sections across three articles. In the last article, we looked at Facebook’s (FB) journey in becoming a social juggernaut. This week, we will be detailing what lies ahead for Facebook and the potential projects they will embark on in the coming years.

Current Key Statistics:

The following statistics were obtained from the Business of Apps:

• 1.8 billion users use the app daily

• 43% of users reside in Asia, 15% in Europe, 9% in North America

• India is the country with the most Facebook users (320 million)

• 23.8% of users are aged 18-24, 31.6% are aged 25-34

• Only 2% of US teenagers would choose Facebook as their favourite app, down 40% from 2012 (42%)

• Facebook revenue figures were $22bn, $18bn and $86bn in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively

• Facebook was estimated to won 23.5% of US digital ad revenue in 2020

• 431m active monthly users (Q1 2020), 2797m active monthly users in Q4 2020

• 5.9% of users are aged 13-17

Bringing the world online – Internet.org

Facebook’s original mission was not only to connect 1 billion people but the whole world. In the words of Mark Zuckerberg – “There’s nothing magical about the number 1 billion”. 

There are currently over 3 billion people who do not have access to the internet. Facebook’s fundamental mission in the coming years is to reduce this figure, if not erase it. In previous years, Zuckerberg has seemingly taken the first step towards this mission by forming internet.org – a coalition of technology companies that include Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. Using maps and data from Ericsson and NASA, the group discovered that 85% of humans already live within range of a 2G data network tower.

The benefits of internet.org were potentially historic. For example, increasing India’s internet access from 15% to 75% would’ve created 65 million jobs, cut cases of extreme poverty by 28% and reduce infant mortality by 85,000 deaths a year. While the Facebook story is one of corporate and financial success, the future of Facebook could focus on building a better world. 

However, in 2015, the project failed after receiving severe backlash from 67 digital rights groups. Nonetheless, attempting to improve the global society by providing internet access is the definitive next step for Zuckerberg. A successful project will allow Facebook to forget the demons of internet.org.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have always cited AI as a significant contributor to their plans, so what AI technologies could Facebook implement?

Deep text: Facebook could utilise deep text to understand how users use slang words and understand the word’s multiple meanings. Furthermore, deep text can help match users with advertisers, rank search results and promptly identify abusive content.

Translation: According to BusinessOfApps, 49.6% of Facebook’s users do not speak English. To combat this statistic, Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning team built an AI-based automatic translation system that helps Facebook users to see translated posts. 

Photo image search: Facebook is currently developing an AI feature that can understand what is occurring in still photographs. This feature can benefit blind people, as Facebook can adapt the technology to answer questions about photos. 

Conclusion:

Whilst it is impossible to predict where Facebook will be in 5 or 10 years, the company has shown no signs of losing its influence over the social media world. Facebook has seen year-on-year increases across all significant statistics spanning usage, globality and advertising. The utilisation of AI, potential projects with better planning than internet.org, and significant acquisitions similar to WhatsApp and Instagram will ensure stable growth for the company in the years to come.

Tune back into The Corporate Feed next month as I analyse the rise and fall of the proposed European Super League and the future of European football. 

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