What’s Going On Over at Facebook?


On October 1, 2018, Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson, sat down at Advertising Week in NYC with Media and Marketing Reporter Lara O’Reilly.

We took the time to listen and dissect their conversation to pass on the most important parts for our clients. Here is a recap of their conversation…

The topics covered range from privacy and security, the growth of Stories, and WhatsApp monetization.

Topic #1: The September 28th Security Breach

As most of you are already aware, Facebook had a security breach on Friday the 28th of September where they logged around 90 million users out of the app with little explanation as to why or what happened.

Facebook originally noticed something was off when there was quite a large spike in user activity on September 16th.

The way Carolyn describes the incident was that there were three different bugs – and all 3 of them had to work together in order for the hackers to gain the information that they did (which we have not been told exactly what that information was yet).

The first bug was a malfunction with their “happy birthday” prompt which resulted in a video upload. That video upload would create an access token from something called a single sign on.

Definition: A single sign on happens when you are utilizing the Facebook mobile app and you are on another site and it prompts you to login to Facebook. Instead of having to log you in again, it automatically does it for you. This creates basically a virtual house key to your account.

The first bug plus the second bug resulted in the attackers being able to essentially pretend that they were somebody else.

If you want to hear Carolyn’s exact words, the minute count for her explanation is 00:01:45 – 00:04:10.

There were 50 million people that they determined had the access token bug on their site. These were the first people to be logged out of their account. Once you are logged out, your access tokens are wiped away.

The second batch to be logged out (the other 40 million) happened because they had used the “View as” function. So, Facebook decided to just air on the side of caution.

Topic #2: What’s Next?

The investigation is still underway along with the FBI. They will keep us up to date as they know what is happening.

As for now, Carolyn is urging users to check their settings to see what other sites and apps they have given permission to.

Topic #3: Stories and Instagram

The digital marketing community has been blown away recently by the love consumers have for Instagram stories. Lara basically had two questions for Carolyn around Instagram:

  1. Is Instagram just going to become Facebook now that the two founders have left the company?
  2. How will Facebook monetize Instagram stories in the future since the bidding for stories is currently extremely low?

Carolyn’s answer to the first question was  absolutely not. FB sees the value in Instagram’s unique value proposition for its consumers and therefor has no intention of changing it. The original creators of Instagram, according to Carolyn, left on very good terms.

Her answer to the second question was that ad space on the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms are all based off a bid. So, the reason prices are so low is because the mainstream marketer has not realized the impact of the story. Carolyn claimed that a consumer is 50% more likely to purchase something they saw in a story. So, she believes it is only a matter of time until the prices increase.

Topic #4: What’s WhatsApp?

While the universally popular app has not quite gained the same popularity in the states as in other locations around the world, it is also under the umbrella of FB.

The conversation around the app was how much does Facebook plan to clutter the app with ad space and pay walls as they have with their other platforms.

Carolyn basically said that since they have been extremely slow to move forward with monetizing the app, their future plans are still being discussed. However, they do vow to keep to the integrity of the app.

To listen to the full interview, click here.