Michael Spencer is a Canadian blockchain consultant who has today come out with scathing remarks against Facebook in a post on Medium.

But he has gone beyond criticising its data harvesting and privacy concerns and its leadership. He has criticised its lack of innovation beyond making acquisitions and internal culture that is against innovation.

“Facebook has failed to deliver even a single useable product outside of global chat,” Spencer declared. He even had a bullet point list on the things it had failed on:

  • In-house apps
  • Hardware
  • Video and competition to YouTube
  • Monetizing WhatsApp
  • Appealing to teenagers (who prefer Snapchat or TikTok)
  • Diversifying away from just digital advertising
  • Maintaining consumer trust and a good reputation
  • Privacy
  • Talent retention
  • Having a reputation that would attract talent post-2018 (talent pipeline)
  • The Portal device (all hardware) [sic]

No Dugan, no Facebook

Over the weekend vice president Regina Dugan departed after less than two years at the company. She had been hired to oversee Building 8 – a division in Facebook that oversees radical projects, most notably its push into hardware.

Its only gadget launched publicly is a video-calling device that is firmly in the shadow of similar devices made by Google and Apple.

There has been hype about chatbots and virtual reality but, as Spencer noted, none of it has happened.

“This is a very bad sign for fans of the technology,” he said. “False promises tire even the most faithful of shareholders. Unfair acquisitions, cloning competitors, Facebook hasn’t broken much but the internet.

“Facebook is the company that made us trust Silicon Valley less, forever.

“Facebook relies on mobile ads for 93 per cent of its revenue. What happens when that market changes?

“Facebook will be left a Titan of a bygone era where algorithms ran rampant over the media and politics and hacked our data. Facebook will have a footnote in history for launching an era of surveillance capitalism with Google — that China emulated.”

But, crypto…

Facebook recently announced its own cryptocurrency, Libra. Some market commentators noted this was a sign the company could see warning signs about its future.

Spencer declared it would also fail due to deceptive advertising. “When you masquerade a payments tool as a cryptocurrency, it’s difficult to get regulators, congress, the FinServe industry or even potential consumers on board,” he said.

He concluded his Medium rant with these words, “If history is the greatest predictor of future behaviour and results, what’s next for Mark and his buddies? More executive talent churn, more failures?”