While browsing the Internet searching for “Facebook”, I came across a headline in a newspaper: Facebook loses millions of users as biggest markets peak. Studies have shown that in March, Facebook lost 6 million US visitors and 1.4 million UK visitors. This is not a one-off phenomenon – the declines are sustained. Since December, Facebook has lost nearly 9 million monthly visitors in the US and 2 million in the UK. The trend is similar in the major European countries. It has partially compensated for this loss with more users in emerging economies especially South America.
Social media experts explain that in developed markets, people who would sign up for Facebook have already done so, and there is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. In my view, the issue with Facebook’s loss of visitors is deeper than market saturation or boredom; the real problem is that Facebook no longer cares about its customers. Its attention has shifted to making the financial numbers that will keep Wall Street happy. In the first quarter of 2013, Facebook’s revenue rose 38% from Q1 2012 to hit $1.46 billion – which is sufficient to have its results considered “mildly positive” despite flat earnings.
Will Facebook go the way of MySpace?
My further browsing led to find that questions are being asked whether Facebook will go the same way as MySpace. For the moment, the risk is slight but the possibility that Facebook could start a long and slow decline could not be ruled out, especially if Facebook does not take care of its customers.
I am speaking from experience. I have spent the past several days trying to sort out my accounts and pages on Facebook. I went to Facebook Help, consulted experts I know, went to all kinds of online forums and followed the advice posed there by people with similar problem. The net result is that I still could not access an account because I do not have a birthday associated with that account. The experience was Kalfa-esque. Things just go round and round in loops with no solution. There is no one at Facebook to talk to or email address to write to for support. Facebook sent computer-generated emails to which there is no way of replying. I am not alone with this particular problem. Internet forums are full of people with the same kind of problem voicing their frustration – into a void.
I think once upon a time Facebook used to care for its customers. A response in one of my forums said: “You can contact Facebook Global Marketing Solutions for support. They are really responsive and usually get back to you within 48 hours. Here is their email address: email@example.com”. I got in touch with that email address and received the following response:
“Thank you for your message. We are unable to provide support for new requests sent to this email address. The Global Marketing Solutions team is still here, and you can reach us by logging in to your Facebook Ads Manager via Facebook and referring to the Support or Help links on the left hand side. Advertisers who are currently spending may also contact us directly here: Facebook. Please note that you must be logged in to Facebook and using secure settings (https://) in order to access this form”.
But the catch is that this service is only available to advertisers. The response from Facebook continues: “If you’re not currently advertising, please visit https://www.facebook.com/business for helpful resources. We also recommend reviewing the Facebook Help Center for support on common questions: https://www.facebook.com/help”. The catch-22 is that I could not get help from these resources that is why I wanted to get specific help.
Facebook is not listening
Curiously for a leading social media site, Facebook does not seem to monitor the noises in cyberspace about them. Perhaps Facebook does not care about its customers any more. I have news for Mark Zuckerberg and his team – if you don’t care about your customers, they will also cease to care about you, and one day Facebook will become a historical footnote.
Knock, Knock – Facebook: anybody there listening?