Four billion. That, according to a new study shared with CNBC by market research firm SimilarWeb, is how many monthly page visits Facebook has shed in a slow-drip but nevertheless huge decline over the last two years.
Facebook’s traffic hasn’t just fallen by about half since 2016, according to the study.
Ironically, it’s also the same length of time that Facebook began censoring conservatives as a regular part of their policy, while leaving leftists free to have bot armies to attack pages with, allowing the left to post clearly violent content, when not even allowing conservatives to post a parody of Elmer Fudd and Barack Obama, because it’s “a credible threat of violence” to the former President.
Of course it is, because Elmer Fudd is infamous for becoming real, and assassinating former presidents, right?
Among the consequences of such a precipitous drop is the opening it’s given to YouTube, which the study’s data shows is about to overtake Facebook to become the second biggest site, traffic-wise, in the U.S.
That gives Google ownership of the top two spots, pushing Facebook down to number three.
Unfortunately, Google is one of the worst offenders when it comes to inhibiting the exercise of free speech with regular censorship and shadow banning of YouTube channels they don’t like, going so far as to completely blacklist a website domain, so they never show in in search results. So don’t expect things to get better on the censorship end of things.
CNBC describes the drop at Facebook as “severe” and goes on to round out its list this way: “The five websites receiving the most traffic in the U.S. in the last several years have been Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and Amazon, in that order.
However, Facebook has seen a severe decline in monthly page visits, from 8.5 billion to 4.7 billion in the last two years, according to the study. Although Facebook’s app traffic has grown, it is not enough to make up for that loss, the study said.”
Google trouncing Facebook is a bit ironic, considering it was Google’s attempt at a feed-based social network (Google+) that ended up falling flat, when it turned out Google already owned a social winner this whole time in the form of YouTube.
It’s also one more suggestion that maybe, finally we’re hitting “peak social.” (We can only hope, for the good of mankind.)
Snapchat’s parent, of course, reported earnings this week and acknowledged a drop in daily active users for the second quarter compared to the year-ago period. Facebook and Twitter also posted declines during their most recent earnings presentations.
Snap, for its part, blamed shedding users on a much-maligned redesign of the ephemeral messaging app. Facebook and Twitter also blamed the European Union’s new privacy law as part of the reason their numbers are down.
Facebook losing such a large amount of traffic over the last few years is part of a broad realignment in the social media landscape that’s only going to continue, likely with surprising outcomes. It’s also apparently creating buying opportunities.
In a blog post earlier this year, BTIG speculated that Twitter is going to be acquired at some point this year.
“Twitter’s 2017 comeback has been fueled by refocusing the company on its core product (iterating features faster than ever before and breaking its own legacy product rules such as #140), creating robust video advertising opportunities for brands and most importantly, making sure users have a better experience every time they visit (by showing them tweets they are interested in and reducing the visibility of trolling), which increases the desire to come back to Twitter more often,” BTIG notes.
“With Twitter still in the early stages of its recovery, the time is ripe for an acquisition in 2018 and there is no controlling shareholder that could prevent a transaction.”
Of course, another mitigating factor in the decline of social media is blatant censorship of conservatives.
Alex Jones, with one of the most visited websites on the Internet, Infowars, being banned from several social media outlets within a day of each other shows a level of collusion between the social media corporations to crush any speech contrary to their globalist world view.
Yet people like Zuckerberg wonder why their views are going down?
Here’s an idea. Allow all free speech allowable by Federal law, and stop banning people who post things you don’t like. If it’s true, allow it. If it’s not illegal, allow it. Do this, and your usage will skyrocket. Humans want freedom, not control.
But no, we won’t have any of that. At least not yet. All but one of the major content platforms have banned the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as the companies raced to act in the wake of Apple’s decision to remove five podcasts by Jones and his Infowars website.
Facebook unpublished four pages run by Jones for “repeated violations of community standards”, the company said on Monday. YouTube terminated Jones’s account over him repeatedly appearing in videos despite being subject to a 90-day ban from the website, and Spotify removed the entirety of one of Jones’s podcasts for “hate content”.
Facebook’s removal of the pages – the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the Infowars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page – comes after the social network imposed a 30-day ban on Jones personally “for his role in posting violating content to these pages”.
Following that suspension, a Facebook spokesperson said:
“More content from the same pages has been reported to us – upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”
The spokesperson noted that, despite the focus on Jones’s role in spreading conspiracy theories around events such as the 9/11 attacks and Sandy Hook school shooting, “none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this”.
A few hours after Facebook announced its ban, YouTube also terminated Jones’s account on its platform. The company issued a statement that didn’t refer to Jones by name, saying only that:
“All users agree to comply with our terms of service and community guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube. When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment, or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”
The specific rationale for Jones’s ban was his habit of appearing in livestreams hosted on other channels on the site, despite being subject to a 90-day ban.
Facebook’s and YouTube’s enforcement action against Jones came hours after Apple removed Jones from its podcast directory. The timing of Facebook’s announcement was unusual, with the company confirming the ban at 3am local time.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 10th, 2018