Facebook. Picture: REUTERS
Facebook. Picture: REUTERS

The standoff between Facebook and several of its largest advertising clients, caused by the advertisers’ unease with how the social media platform handles misinformation and hate speech, will no doubt make this year’s list of events that changed our world, for several reasons.

Philosophically, you could argue that it brings to light contextual truths about our society, and the realities of our current time in history.

Economically, it illustrates how being perceived to be on the wrong side of the tide of public opinion is detrimental to business, and how quickly the ground, and profits, can shift for companies that are out of touch.

And culturally, it is evidence that activism is a phenomenon that has real power and will be central in shaping what the future of our world is going to look like.

While these perspectives are by no means an exhaustive list, they are vital to understanding what is going on in the world right now, and it is my opinion that, above all, this Facebook advertisers’ revolt is a lesson for companies about where they actually stand in the equation.

The big take-out:

The power has shifted from companies to individuals.

The power has shifted from companies to individuals.

The consumer is the centre of the universe. Their story is the only one that matters. And the role of the company or brand is to be the catalyst for the consumer’s journey, to support their narrative and help them achieve their goals.

If a brand can do this well, there will be a place for them in the future. If they do it badly, they will be taken to task and removed from the individual’s ecosystem.

This perspective is being played out on the biggest stage imaginable, in real time. Society has spoken. Some of the biggest global brands have chosen their sides. Now we wait and see if Facebook wants a place in the world post-2020.

  • Dylan Fortune is head of innovation at MetropolitanRepublic. He is a creatively-led strategic business thinker who is fascinated with the intersection of where people, philosophy, business and technological innovation meet, and how they can be leveraged to drive business growth in a rapidly evolving world.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.