Facebook User Engagement Data Goes From Bad To Worse

Facebook user engagement was already starting to fall by the wayside and the company was already scrambling to figure out new methods for boosting its user engagement before it came under fire over the past month for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Now, new data from Cowen's monthly social engagement survey shows that activity continues to fall. As reported by Bloomberg:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did well under Congress’ microscope, but Facebook has more hurdles to overcome as data shows a decline in user engagement, writes Cowen analyst John Blackledge.

Cowen’s monthly social engagement survey found that time spent per day by U.S. users declined moderately in 1Q y/y; likely due to platform management changes from 2H17 

Despite the data, Cowen was bullish on all things left open for interpretation, stating that "political and regulatory hurdles will likely persist, but FB is open to working together to solve the issues". 

In a seperate note put out by Cowen's Washington correspondence, analyst Paul Gallant noted that an FTC investigation into the company's compliance with its consent decree remains a risk and that "Democrats are unhappy and want legislation". What else is new.  

3. DEMOCRATS UNHAPPY & WANT LEGISLATION. Numerous Democrats said Facebook's
advertising model is fundamentally in tension with user privacy and that Facebook has not
lived up to prior commitments of self-regulation. Most indicated that legislation -- not self
regulation -- is the only way to protect consumers at this point.

4. LEGISLATION UNLIKELY. After watching the hearings, our sense is Facebook has a
window to improve on its own. If 6-9 months months pass and little changes, Republicans
may well shift to legislation. But in the hearings, most Republicans retained their preference
for light-touch regulation, including some who said formal regulation would actually lock
in Facebook (and Google's) dominance and prevent the next Facebook from emerging. But
midterms important: Democrats' call for privacy legislation was led by Reps. Pallone and
Eshoo, who appear to favor comprehensive GDPR legislation. If Democrats win the House in
November, the chances of legislation would rise, although a likely Republican Senate would
still make passage an uphill battle.

5. FTC IS KEY. We think the FTC's investigation of Facebook's consent decree compliance is
quite important. At a minimum, we expect a big fine -- probably in the billions. We also think
the FTC could impose some privacy changes -- perhaps data breach notification, clearer
data usage notifications to users, etc -- in a new consent decree. But we think new FTC
requirements would not be game-changing -- such as mandating GDPR-like opt-in consent
-- given that key members of Congress are saying legislation would be required for opt-in
(as it was in Europe).

It was less than two months ago that we wrote about Facebook's most recent "dirty trick" for trying to boost its user engagement numbers - using phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication to send users data they can "engage with" but didn't sign up for recieiving via text message. In that article we told the story of Gabriel Lewis, who tweeted that Facebook texted "spam" to the phone number he submitted for the purposes of 2-factor authenticationAnd no, he insists he did not have mobile notifications turned on. 

What's more, when he replied "stop" and "DO NOT TEXT ME," he says those message showed up on his Facebook wall.

Lewis had explained his version of the story to Mashable via Twitter direct message. 

"[Recently] I decided to sign up for 2FA on all of my accounts including FaceBook, shortly afterwards they started sending me notifications from the same phone number. I never signed up for it and I don't even have the FB app on my phone."

Lewis further explained that he can go "for months" without signing into Facebook, which suggests the possibility that Mark Zuckerberg's creation was feeling a little neglected and trying to get him back. According to Lewis, he signed up for two factor authentication on Dec. 17 and the alleged spamming began on Jan. 5. Importantly, Lewis wasn't the only person who claims this happened to him. One Facebook user says he accidentally told "friends and family to go [to] hell" when he "replied to the spam."

Of course, despite this Cowen survey providing a less than optimistic forecast for Facebook's user engagement heading into Q2, Cowen still called the company one its its "top picks in the universe" and kept the company at outperform with a $210 price target. 


nope-1004 Shitonya Serfs Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:31 Permalink

In the picture above, the gay guy on the right looks just too ginger-cute for me.  FB is not what it appears, yet ppl use it like it's the only way to communicate.

For the life of me I can't believe that ppl post personal info, pictures, dreams, desires, relatives, bdays, etc... on a global platform that has NEVER been questioned for its authenticity or background.

The info about FB will come out one day, just as all of yours has come out now.



In reply to by Shitonya Serfs

DownWithYogaPants DillyDilly Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

But old people have had some time to remedy their stupidy. 

Young people?  Yikes no.  All sorts of idiocy.  FB is good for keeping track of old friends that you would eventually lose track of if you just had their phone number.

Just need an equivalent that is not NSA / CIA central.

In reply to by DillyDilly

spastic_colon Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:09 Permalink

open FB acct - FB sells your data - FB contributes proceeds to themselves and leftist causes - the leftists use the proceeds to censor and protest including opening FB accts - FB supports the censorship - simple

Bill of Rights Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

What time does Zucks Alien spacecraft pick him up and bring him back home?...


PS all those billions, you would think this CIA cock sucker could afford a barber.

asteroids Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:11 Permalink

After all this outrage, you'll have suggestion of setting up another 3 letter agency with superpowers and ability to raid and interrogate silicon valley snowflakes and their millions of computers. Should be fun to watch.

CatInTheHat Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:14 Permalink

What's not mentioned is the censorship tactics Facebook actively engaged in. And how much of what your posting goes to the NSA for later blackmail? Or for the putting down of dissent?

Not worth it. 

Throat-warbler… Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:19 Permalink

They are gone but not banished when you delete the app from computer and phone.  I had my account zipped and then downloaded it.  I looked at the data collected on-line, and my care paid off.  There was nothing there but my address (at least visible).

SantaClaws Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:48 Permalink

Sad comment on humanity that FB stock is still a strong buy.  If there were another stock for human stupidity, narcissism, social isolation, time wasting, etc., it would be in the stratosphere.

RopeADope Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

"Congress’ microscope" ?

Is Bloomberg smoking crack? The only thing I heard during that farce was Congress agreeing to later meetings with Facebook to hash out how much FB was going to pay them in bribes.

Conax Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:44 Permalink

Damn, people are stupid. I forbade my kids (grown) from putting me, my picture or any references at all, about me, up on the CIA's catalogue pages.

Told them that there was no way that the data was not being collected and cross-referenced, explained data mining and the files kept on Americans, and did it all at least ten years ago.

Now this.  We Americans need to get our heads out of our asses, wake up and smell the treachery before it's too late.  Shoot, it's already too late for a lot of you.

They got you good.  They know what you're thinking, doing and planning.

All so you could write goofy shit and post pictures of your lunch.

pparalegal Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

Want a treat? Try navigating the new Yahoo mail (etc) EULA. Now that AOL, Yahoo, and more are under the massive Verizon combine farming machine.