Facebook’s TikTok pivot unlikely to win back younger users

Facebook is spinning. Again.

ledgealex heath reports The social giant’s top executive, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, ordered activists to revamp the Facebook app, the body of Feed, to look and act like TikTok’s “For You” page. Not surprisingly, TikTok has become a significant threat to Facebook’s business, and Meta (nee Facebook) is responding to it. what does it always do When it can’t buy a rival: It’s copying them.

Heath reports that Facebook is looking to start putting reel videos like Meta TikTok into users’ feeds. It also plans to pull its (now separate) Messenger app back into the Facebook app so that it can more closely integrate the messaging function with short videos, like TikTok does. Now it will take just one click to send a reel video message to a friend.

This is the latest drama from META that has been attracting new audiences to its once thriving platform. Facebook member growth has been stagnant, and it’s having trouble attracting younger users. facebook is stock lost 51% of its value So far in 2022. Meanwhile, TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has proven to be an extraordinarily sticky app and a potential long-term competitor. Internet Analytics Service Sensor Tower reports That’s why TikTok became only the fifth app to cross 3.5 billion downloads. According to Sensor Tower, last year the app was downloaded 20% more times than Facebook and 21% more times than Instagram.

A new feed, again

The planned Facebook pivot will transform the experience of using the platform. Facebook says that right now, posts from strangers only account for 10% of the content in a person’s feed. On TikTok, practically all the videos that users watch come from random strangers. Facebook’s Meta executive in charge Tom Ellison told ledgeHeath of Facebook is that Facebook users can expect to see more content from “unaffiliated” people in their feeds, meaning posts by friends and family may appear less frequently.

It’s a dramatic return from Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 announcement that Facebook would recalculate the feed to show less news, in favor of more posts from friends and family.

“Research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” Zuckerberg wrote in a statement. facebook post those days. “On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos – even if they are entertaining or informative – may not be as good.”

A year later, speaking at the F8 conference, Zuckerberg made a similar announcement that Facebook was becoming More information about private one-to-one or small group communication And less about the content that anyone can see on Facebook.

Well, this feeling did not last long.

Let’s also not forget that Facebook rebranded itself as “meta” just last year, a change meant to indicate what the company believes is the future of social networking, and perhaps the future of social networking in general. From personal computing, will be in the metaverse.

Now, with the new TikTok pivot, the sudden meta resizing is starting to look like a pattern. The company is ready to make drastic changes to prevent its users from switching to other platforms. Only when users are logged in and active on Meta’s apps can the company continue to track their movements and record their interests for the benefit of advertisers. Obviously, this is where Meta gets the bulk of its profits.

keep scrolling them

Ellison told Heath that Facebook’s new challenge is building a so-called “discovery engine”—that is, the algorithm that will decide what reel video to show next in someone’s feed.

It’s unlikely Facebook can create a short video experience that can really compete with TikTok anytime soon. The power of TikTok is its algorithmic ability to curate videos on the user’s For You page. The algorithm chooses a user’s video taste—how often they watch videos, which videos they don’t finish, which videos they like or comment on, and many other things—to decide whether What type of video will display the best metrics. And it’s deadly good.

If the plans are real, Meta will have a hard time beating TikTok at its own game. The name TikTok is synonymous with short, goofy videos with dance steps, “duets” and endless trends. On a feature to feature basis, meta key reels stands up reasonably well Against Tiktok. But the rise of TikTok is much more than features. tiktok has one Feeling, is a method that has an insanely good way of taking people’s jokes out of it. The app has somehow caught up with a generation, and that’s something that can’t be easily reverse engineered.

But that won’t stop Facebook from trying. Its discovery engine will operate somewhat differently, and will take advantage of a different set of signal data. Facebook has a lot of experience in taking cues from users about their interests and how they roam the web. But suggestion engines are not one-size-fits-all; The algorithm for showing social posts or ads is different from the algorithm for showing short videos. It will take time for Facebook to mix its algorithmic design and signal data to the point where it can serve up video as effectively as TikTok.

And Tiktok has a huge opening.

changing politics

If the purpose of the 2018 feed change was to deter people from passively watching so much hateful political content, the introduction of more reels could represent a step in the opposite direction.

TikTok’s short video format is often used as a vehicle for political, and often intensely partisan, content. Majority’s opinion reversed after Supreme Court draft leaked Roe vs. WadeFor example, TikTok was full of posts from both pro-abortion and anti-abortion supporters. Similarly, after the Uvalde school shooting, people from both sides of the gun control debate flourished on the TikTok app. It is also not uncommon to see TikTok videos containing misinformation on politically charged topics.

A Facebook move toward TikTok-like videos could keep users on the app for a while, but it could also leave the app feeling less personal, less relatable truth, more biased and more toxic—issues that aren’t exactly foreign to Facebook. .

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