This may be hard to picture now, but in 2012, Facebook was struggling. The newly public company wasn’t meeting Wall Street’s demands for sales and profit, and the stock price was down from $38 per share at the IPO to $19 per share. Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions to be a predominant tech company on the NASDAQ were failing. Meanwhile, macro-economic conditions were rosy, so this downturn was especially disappointing to Facebook investors, which in turn, caused mounting pressure for the social network.
It’s important to note that “selling data” is the correct terminology as advertisers buy ads on Facebook for the data, as opposed to print, television or radio ads which are bought based on the content. You are buying the data when you buy a Facebook ad, although Mark Zuckerberg led Congress to believe otherwise.