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December 20, 2019updated 06 Jan 2020 1:34pm

Facebook may face scrutiny from governments across the globe

By GlobalData Technology

Facebook (FB) has built and acquired a solid family of assets during the last decade. About 2.8 billion people use the social media giant’s family of apps per month.

Even a series of bad publicity events around data privacy has not shaken this juggernaut. FB shows continual profits and revenue each quarter. In Q3 2019, the company reached 2.45 billion monthly users, up 1.65% from 2.41 billion in Q2 2019. Facebook recorded $17.65 billion in revenue, up 29% year-over-year.

During the last decade, mobile consumers worldwide downloaded a record 120 billion apps from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, according to App Annie, which tracks the mobile application space.

Topping the list for downloads since 2010 are unsurprisingly Facebook and its associated apps. Facebook was the top app, followed by Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat—the only app not owned by FB.

Facebook is entrenched in the daily lives of its users. This makes it very difficult for people to give up the platform, even if they don’t trust it to protect their personal information. Moreover, FB’s massive reach means advertisers have no choice but to use this platform.

Governments across the globe are growing wary of Facebook’s market power.

Facebook owning the top four most downloaded apps of the decade, and with continual user and revenue growth, only bolsters critics’ arguments. It has long enjoyed an environment with few regulations. However, the last two years have seen increased scrutiny and regulations around privacy, security and transparency.

Despite Facebook’s moves to police itself, the next decade could see regulation having a profound impact. Earlier this year it laid out a vision of overhauling its apps around privacy, with messaging apps being the foundation.

However, FB ignores the real privacy problem – it uses and shares data to target users with advertisements.

If it wants to avoid significant government scrutiny, Facebook must demonstrate through investments that it is increasing its capabilities in counteracting privacy threats and cybercrime that victimizes its users.