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Podcast: Amid Facebook’s Fake Privacy Pivot, Social Media Approaches An Inflection Point

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the blog post that launched a thousand hot takes, promising to pivot Facebook to privacy. As with many things Zuckerberg says publicly, that promise has little to do with moving the biggest portion of Facebook toward anything like data privacy, or away from the business model that has reaped so many billions for him and his company.

In my latest Bloom in Tech podcast episode, I look at what Zuckerberg is actually doing, and why he’s doing it. More importantly, I look at the broader shifts in social media that undergird the changes Zuckerberg is touting, plus how those shifts are positioning some other platforms to take advantage.

Out of all of the relative newcomers, one name keeps popping up: Amazon. It seems like an unlikely place for influencers to go.

But as Tim Sovay, COO of influencer-marketing and campaign-management platform CreatorIQ, puts it, “Amazon moved into this space in a big way. If I’m a creator, I’m very interested in seeing what Amazon does in this space. I tend to believe when Amazon does something they tend to do it quite well.”

Indeed, with all those voice-activated devices using Alexa, the fast-growing Twitch live-streaming platform, and a digital-advertising presence that’s already third only behind Google and Facebook, Amazon is in a potentially powerful position to take advantage of our evolving engagement with others on the web.

And don’t forget about that e-commerce platform that informs everything else at Amazon. It’s already more than half of digital commerce, and only benefits from growing social, search and advertising components around it.

There are other rising platforms, of course. Certainly Facebook’s own Instagram is thriving,  increasingly the home for influencers in fashion, beauty, travel, furnishings and much else that benefits from one great photo.

And in many international markets, Facebook’s What’s App is the dominant messaging app, adding more functions and the kind of end-to-end privacy that Zuckerberg says is now coming to Instagram and Facebook Messenger, even as he merges their back-ends so he in fact has one gigantic messaging platform instead of three smaller (but still huge) ones.

It’s worth looking at what’s working for WeChat in China, which runs the lives of 800 million mobile users there. TikTok, another huge China-based platform is beloved by 500 million teens and tweens who have no interest in Facebook.

We’ll see what Apple does with its March 25 announcement, which looks likely to include access to free, high-quality shows for its 800 million device users, as well as a subscription news and magazine service. Both of those are likely to be far more attractive to many users than the crud found on Facebook Watch and its NewsFeed.

But Amazon is too big overall, too substantial on several fronts already, and, again, sitting on that gigantic money machine that is its e-commerce platform. If you want ROI on your influencer and content marketing, tying directly to purchases is increasingly a pretty good idea.

Listen to the podcast here: