Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Sun Setting on German Facebook

I noted this in business news listed for Germany this week....from Bloomberg.  They say that Facebook will be hiring up an entire division in the next three months....out of Essen (don't ask me why they picked this particular region)....with one single purpose.

The mission of the group?

To delete hateful or violent content on Facebook.

The number of folks to be hired?  500.  I's a fairly sizable group.  You can figure a chief....five or six vice-chiefs...and maybe a dozen shift-leaders to run an around-the-clock (24-hours a days a week....fifty-two weeks a year....operation.

The necessity driving this?  Fines of fifty-million Euro for each SINGLE hate-speech content.

Figuring out the cost of this episode?  You can figure that at least 450 of these folks are in the 2,400 to 3,400 Euro range on monthly salary, and that at least twenty folks will be making at least 4,000 to 6,000 Euro a month.  The math can be sloppy here but it's somewhere in the range of  two million Euro a month when you talk salary and benefits of the 500 employees.  Rent, heat, utilities, servers, security, etc?  You can probably add another two to three million a month to cover the operational costs without the salary structure.  So it's draining the company five-million Euro a month....more or less.

Maybe some Facebook guru will want to correct me on this number....feel free.

The thing I see is that after you've sat and deleted 10,000 comments or photos in one month.....the folks affected will ask why bother using Facebook and move on. How many?  Maybe just 10,000 German users....maybe a hundred-thousand....maybe one-million.  If you had one-million German users who were using the platform, and then just stopped using it....the advertising profits drop.  Go talk to any business guy, and he'll tell you the consequences of this action.

So you stand there and look at sixty-million Euro a year being drained out to support this center in Essen.  All to prevent you from having a 50-million Euro fine on one single hate-speech article.

What happens in the first round of 10,000 deletions?  Someone will decide to identify the item deleted as poking on their right of free-speech, and sue Facebook for the deletion.  While everyone is having a good laugh.....months go by, and people sit in shock as some court determines that a deletion that occurred....wasn't hate-speech, and Facebook has to pay some German 10,000 Euro.  From that point on....every week, some German lawyers will get more cases and by 2020....Facebook will likely be losing capital every single month as hate-speech is challenged.

In some ways, this whole thing is built in a way to capitalistically destroy Facebook in the end. They can't avoid the destruction....they can't escape from the bureaucratic mess....they can't maneuver around this 'trap'.

Not to wish this upon them....but I think this is the beginning of the end of Facebook.

My question?  Why pick Essen?  If you had approached Amazon or any major company....they would have picked a high unemployment area in the eastern area of the nation and stacked the deck for a salary structure at lower than the norm.

The qualifications to be a deletion-button guy?  I would be curious about this as well.  Added to this whole function....I would imagine as you delete the guy's'd then suspend his account for a week, or perhaps just terminate his account entirely.  So, if you were Facebook and noted six months into this that you'd terminated half-a-million German accounts....will it bother you?  Would you even bother mentioning this in public forums?

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