You are product and not customer

Recently I did watch one video about scams in Facebook (sorry I didn’t remember whom I did watch and actually I forgot about that story for quite some time). Basically, one guy found many scams on Facebook that sell some products like notebook but very cheap, like 10% of original price. One example was Microsoft Surface for $50. Another one was Samsung watch for $30. And these scams are using original product texts, images, videos etc. Obviously if you will buy one, you will get some cheap fake. But for unexperienced person these products look legit.

Anyway, that guys reported these scams to Facebook and provided statistics in his youtube channel. And results do not look good for Facebook. 75% of his reports were without answer, 20% reports got standard answer “we will investigate” and Facebook actually closed these scams only for less than 5% of his reports.

A lot of his viewers and subscribers were infuriated and asking why Facebook didn’t shutdown these scams. Surely it is damaging Facebook in eyes of its customers. But that guy answer was eye opening. He said “You are not Facebook customers. You are product that Facebook sell to its real customers – people who buy ads or sell in Facebook. These scammers pay Facebook and you are not. You are chickens in chicken farm. Farm owner does not care about chickens complains because chickens are not customers, but product. Farm owner only cares about chicken so they can be sold to real customers in good condition”.

His answer was truly eye opening. It could take time, but after some time it is clear that he was right. And surely Facebook will not rush to shutdown these paying customers because they bring money and you are not. In fact, normal customer is liability. Normal customer consumes storage, processor time and traffic. The same as free to play customers liability to game developers. They consume the same resources without paying for them. But they play important role: they are food for paying customers. So, game developers will mess with free to play customers for sure if it will please paying customers. Of course, they both will not do anything to make people leave. Product should feel good enough and be in good enough condition to be sold. It is hard to feel that you are product but on other side we are using something that cost money, but we are using it for free. So, it is fair.

But if we go to original problem with selling fake products, that guys suggested original solution: do not buy anything from Facebook or its ads until they fix this issue. Imagine, you went to supermarket and bought say milk. But at home you found that inside is water. They the same happened again with different product. After that I’m sure nobody will go to that supermarket for quite some time. The same should apply here.

This issue is also ironic, because just recently Facebook was questioned with Russian involvement in presidential election. They were showing ads that effect election process and there were many many reports, but they did ignore them. Mark Zuckerberg was even called to testify in Congress for this.

Anyway, I think it will be helpful to someone and eye opening