Ricks Picks header image

Facebook Trying to Make Elephant in the Room Disappear


We are told so often that Facebook’s founder is a genius that it can surprise when he actually does something that seems halfway smart. How else to account for his success in getting The Wall Street Journal to buy into this story, which led the front page on Thursday: Facebook Pivots to Private Sharing. What a masterstroke of public relations! The reporter, one Jeff Horwitz, was somehow induced to believe that Zuckerberg sees a vastly profitable enterprise in encrypted messaging and ‘ephemeral’ communications that disappear. So much for the existing, ad-based business model that has attracted billions of users. This deftly planted story seems no more believable than if Elon Musk had announced Tesla is shifting away from electric automobiles toward the production of high-tensile paperclips. Is there any money in it, we might ask? And how high are the entry barriers?

More important, can Facebook’s leopard change its spots?  Presently, the company makes its money selling out each and every one of its users a thousand times to advertisers (and, as we learned last year, to political consultants, even those who work for the “wrong” side.) For this, Zuckerberg & Co. has developed a reputation for lying about exactly how this is done, and how soon the company plans to stop doing it.

Letting Zuck Off the Hook

But look at how easily reporter Horwitz lets Zuckerberg off the hook: “[Facebook] will also develop products within those messaging services — such as payments and e-commerce — that eventually could allow it to diversify from the ad-supported business model that led to a number of privacy missteps…”  Missteps! Are these guys kidding? Zuckerberg’s business practices have made him a pariah to everyone on the planet who values privacy. European regulators would shut him down tomorrow if they could. And U.S. lawmakers, tired of being bamboozled by bulls**t whenever Zuckerberg is on the Hill, would gladly follow suit. But now he has masterfully distracted us with a fantastic story about making hundreds of billions of dollars from, um, paperclips.  This is probably all the cover that stock analysts will need to resuscitate Facebook’s shares. All credit to Zuckerberg, who turns out to be almost as clever as the press has made him out to be.

  • John Jay March 8, 2019, 10:05 am

    The greatest mystery to me is why many millions of people list all that personal information on Facebook with reckless enthusiasm.
    Even more puzzling is the millions that PAY to surrender DNA samples to the government on those pseudo scientific ancestor tracking services.
    When in reality,anything past great-grandfather is genetically very remote.
    Reminds me of the failed “War on Drugs”, that for decades has been insanely trying to stop Supply when the real problem is Demand!

    Or, as H L Mencken put it:
    “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

  • none March 8, 2019, 6:04 am

    Is it the End of the Road for the World’s Cheapest Car?



    Tata launched the Nano, a compact four or five-door hatchback, ‘with great fanfare in 2009’ when its first edition went on the market for around $2,200.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-world-cheapest-car-nears-road.html#jCp

    Their achievement was was recognized with a prestigious Edison Awards in 2010 for best new product under the transportation category.

    Bugatti unveils world’s most expensive new car, sold for $18.9 million

    By Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post ‘March 5,2019’


    In case interested buyers have €16.7 million or $18.9 million lying around, Bugatti already sold its one-of-a-kind creation.

    Have a great weekend Rick.

Do you want up-to-the-minute technical analysis and forecasts for your favorite stocks, commodities, ETFs? Join our Monthly Take Request Session.

No, I'm not Interested

Free Butterfly Spread Video Training

Discover an ultra-easy trading strategy that delivers darn-near-zero risk in this free 1 hour video training.

Do you want up-to-the-minute technical analysis and forecasts for your favorite stocks, commodities, ETFs? Join our Take Request Session on June 15th!

No, I'm not Interested

The Story You Haven’t Heard About the GameStop Saga...

Join Us Thursday, Feb 11th @ 12ET For a Live TELL-ALL Webinar

No, I'm not Interested