How Facebook’s Entire Business Model is Based Upon Surveillance

Last Updated on March 24, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • Facebook’s business model is based on surveillance and lying to users about how their data is used.
  • This article explains why this is the case.


As Facebook faces a DOJ lawsuit for monopolistic behavior, what will happen is Facebook’s business model will be highlighted to more of a degree than before. The problem with Facebook is that its entire business model is based on monopolization and surveillance. This fact means performing cross-site tracking and combining this data with data purchased from other data brokers.

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User Surveillance as Facebook’s Business Model

Information found in Dina Srinivasan’s paper The Antitrust Case Against Facebook explains the following:

Facebook also sells advertising to marketers. In the digital advertising market, the ability to conduct unprecedented commercial surveillance is a bedrock of Facebook’s current revenues and profits. Facebook generates nearly all of its revenues from the sale of advertising, and the prices of ads sold today directly correlate with data derived from tracking consumers.

Facebook’s power here is so absolute that the duopoly of Facebook and Google accounts for 90-99% of year-over-year growth in the U.S. digital advertising market.

Cross Website Surveillance

Facebook not only engages in mass surveillance of the users of its site but forces this surveillance apparatus on its media partners, as explained in the following quotation.

Why is it that thousands of Facebook competitors on the advertising side—traditional publishers of content, such as magazines and newspapers—also coordinate with Facebook to allow Facebook to watch and monitor their own customers?

Only after an historic public offering, the acquisition of over a billion users, and the exit of competitors, was Facebook finally able to add the condition of surveillance to its mandatory terms.


Facebook is constantly lying about its surveillance and the dimensions of this surveillance. The typical Facebook user is now aware of how much Facebook is surveilling them and how comprehensive the surveillance is. This means that Facebook’s business model deceives its users into surveilling them and combining Facebook data with data from other sources.

Dina Srinivasan receives our score of 10 out of 10 for accuracy.