By Alec Borkowski

July 26th, 2018 was a day that Mark Zuckerberg would like to forget.  On that fateful Thursday, Facebook released their earnings report after the market had closed for the day.  Facebook’s stock was down 19% just over the course of the day.  This drastic drop accumulated to a loss of over $120 Billion in value for the company.  Investors essentially lost their entire earnings from 2018 within a single day of trading.  No other company in the history of the free market system has ever experienced a loss of this magnitude.  Now the question is why did this happen?  Now this question is complex in nature in the sense that, at the time, it was impossible for Facebook to stop this.  It was not due to internal problems or leadership issues but rather an unprecedented misuse of social media.  The market lost faith in Facebook after reports of the misuse of their data had been leaked in the infamous “Facebook-Cambridge Data Scandal.”  This scandal gave Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, access to millions and possibly hundreds of millions of Facebook user’s personal information.  This caused Mark Zuckerberg to have to sit in front of congress and face hours of questioning.  The misuse of this data caused the single most disastrous stock decline in Facebook’s history. 

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been under scrutiny for much of 2018 starting back in April when the FBI concluded that Russia had meddled in interfering with the US election in 2016.  Stating that it used Facebook to damage the image of the Hilary Clinton.  Some of the ways listed by at least 8 government agencies and confirmed by Facebook were purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars in political advertisements on the website.  Facebook events were created where political rallies would be held.  Most of these advertisements were either opposing Hilary Clinton or promoting other candidate such as Bernie Sanders or other party candidates such as Jill Stein.  Whether or not these ads had any effect on the outcome is hard to tell, even from Zuckerberg’s point of view but these are the facts.  Facebook has also been under scrutiny for allowing interference in the Brazilian election which is fast approaching next month.  Facebook is already being to make changes internally with the US midterm elections coming in November.  Last week, Zuckerberg penned a 1300-word essay detailing the struggles Facebook went through the last year.  He wrote how Facebook is doing everything in their power to create a safer space for free minded thinking and secure data. With Facebook’s stock slowly coming back to normal Zuckerberg now faces a large challenge. Once a company created to connect old friends, distant family and loved ones is now being charged with the task to not corrupt the institutions and governments of the World.  It is a large burden but one that must be addressed to save the integrity of the US and any other foreign government that may be affected.  The next few months are crucial for Facebook to prove that they are a more secure company in terms of user’s data and not allowing rouge groups to influence their users.