Digital platforms’ profits suffer from us getting back to real life

Too bad. It means we're seeing friends, strengthening relationships, getting involved.

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Editorials

August 9, 2022 - 4:07 PM

A group of youngsters bowls at Country Lanes in Iola in the good old days when people actually interacted.

Digital platforms are having a bad year. That might be good news for America’s mental health.

The negative headlines keep coming, mostly driven by disappointing quarterly earnings calls. Last Wednesday, Facebook parent company Meta reported the first quarterly drop in revenue since the company went public in 2012. Profit is down 36% over last year. Netflix lost almost a million subscribers between April and July, marking two quarters in a row of audience decline. Amazon, which thrived while we were all stuck at home ordering toilet paper online, reported a net loss for the second straight quarter. And Apple, the company that connects 113 million Americans to digital tools, saw profits drop 11%.

Those declines are the result of a complex web of factors. Among them, Meta has suffered from Apple’s privacy update that allowed users to stop vendors from tracking activity across other apps. Netflix is in an unsustainable content war with other streaming services, spending billions producing what they hope will be the next bingeable show, even as viewers are hitting their limit on how many streaming platforms they can pay for at once. Amazon blamed inflation for its woes.

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