Facebook expects a slowdown in its core business in the near future, a prediction that has been cited as a primary driver behind its launch of Facebook Watch. That’s not the only strategy the social media giant plans to deploy, though. It has recently started processing charitable donations, extended an olive branch to record labels and is apparently looking for office space in China where it can work on its Building 8 hardware innovation projects.
But it’s not all good news. The company recently learned Russian trolls used fake accounts to buy $100,000 worth of ads during the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle, and that may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Cash money: the birthday present that always fits. Now Facebook is enabling users to send their friends birthday money along with those 45 million birthday wishes sent across the social network each day. However, they can only do so if the birthday boy or girl has designated a charitable cause or nonprofit to receive those funds.
It’s not uncommon to see Facebook users asking friends and family to donate to their favorite organization or cause on their special day, but until now, they’ve done so by creating fundraising campaigns on platforms like GoFundMe.
Now, the social network is disbursing those donations through its own Facebook Payments mechanism to registered organizations. Nonprofits that are not registered with Facebook Payments receive funds via Network for Good or by check. Facebook takes a 5 percent operational fee on donations for processing, fraud protection and payment support.
Made In China: Possible Inroads?
China doesn’t let citizens access Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped the social media giant from trying to make inroads there. In its latest effort, Facebook has apparently been scouting for office space for employees working on hardware projects.
Facebook will need a Chinese presence to further those hardware projects, since it will need to plug into China’s electronics supply chain in order to build the drones, IoT medical devices and other products envisioned by the company’s innovation arm, Building 8.
Should the company find a place, and should the Chinese government approve its use of it, the New York Times notes it will be a symbolic victory and could support the social network’s broader ambitions in the country, which is also home to the world’s largest population of web users.
Facebook is bent on its strategy to become the next big video hub, and it’s willing to spend up to $1 billion in 2018 to do it. The company has already said it would spend up to $3 million per episode for certain original content to be aired on its new Facebook Watch platform.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is likely trying to brace for an anticipated slowdown in its core business. It’s also doing everything in its power to keep users inside its walled garden. Not only will watching videos keep visitors on the platform for a longer span of time, but Facebook also hopes, it will drive post-viewing discussion of the content between users on the platform.
Music To Video-Makers’ Ears
The launch of Facebook Watch has prompted the social network to make an offer to major record labels: hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for the rights to host user-generated content that incorporates background songs and music that users and Facebook do not own.
Currently, when users post videos that incorporate music, it constitutes a copyright infringement and Facebook has to take the content down — frustrating many users who just wanted a sick soundtrack for their rad skate montage or who recorded a cover song to drive traffic to their emerging artist page.
Facebook and music owners have been in negotiations for months, but the system Facebook has promised to build to identify and tag infringing music could take two years to develop. CEO Mark Zuckerberg expects video to be the primary business driver over that time span, so a faster solution was necessary to clear user content to support this projected shift.
Because let’s face it: As Bloomberg notes, users aren’t going to stop sharing videos that incorporate their favorite songs. For the music industry, accepting Facebook’s offer ensures they get something out of it, rather than wasting resources to hunt for and remove every infringing video.
Tip Of The Ad Iceberg
Between May 2015 and May 2017, Facebook sold approximately $100,000 worth of ads to what it has since discovered to be a Russian troll farm bent on influencing American voters before the 2016 presidential election. The 3,000 offending ads were associated with 470 fake accounts and pages that were in violation of Facebook policies, the company now says.
At an average $33 a pop, those ads could have reached between 11,000 to 63,000 users in a single day, Facebook said, and the platform’s ad targeting options ensure maximum value out of each of those impressions.
Experts suspect the relatively modest $100,000 spend on Facebook may be just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger and more expensive ad campaign across multiple platforms, CNN reported.