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Facebook is ditching friends and family to compete with TikTok

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Facebook announced on Thursday that it is redesigning its flagship social network, prioritizing content from creators over messages from friends and family, to reflect intensifying competition for user attention from TikTok.

Facebook said in a statement that users’ default screen, known as Home, will display more entertaining posts from third-party creators and provide easy access to Facebook’s short video service known as Reels, as well as its ephemeral video product known as Stories.

Users who want to see the latest posts from friends, family, and favorite pages and groups will find them in the new Channels tab. Users will be able to create a list of favorite people and groups they most want to see content from.

“The app will still open a personalized feed in the Home tab, where our search engine will recommend the content we think you’ll be most interested in,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. “But the Channels tab will give you the ability to further customize and control your experience.”

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Facebook, which renamed itself Meta last year, is heavily investing in its video products to compete for younger users with ByteDance’s TikTok video-sharing app, which has become the world’s fastest growing social media platform with personalized delivery of short, engaging videos. . Zuckerberg said investing in and figuring out how to make more money from a similar Reels product is a top priority for the company.

Tejas Dessai, research analyst at financial services firm Global X ETFs, said Facebook’s change is part of a larger shift in the social media market, where users are spending more time watching small snippets of immersive content while accessing private messaging apps. one-on-one communication.

“I think Facebook is responsive to what the consumer is, what the user is asking for,” he said. More and more users are turning to Facebook and Instagram “to learn more information, to better understand the world.”

Despite the change, Dessai added that users will likely continue to use the company’s services to communicate with their friends and family via direct messages or the WhatsApp messaging app.

During the last three months of last year, Facebook reported that it had lost daily users for the first time in its 18-year history, causing its stock price to plummet. While the number of users of the social network remained stable at the beginning of this year, company executives said they were focusing their efforts on attracting the attention of young people.

In contrast, the number of TikTok users in the US has grown to over 110 million.

“Facebook’s legacy has been in decline for a long time,” Dessai said. “It’s been a do-or-die situation and Facebook wants to try and keep the platform up and running.”

Facebook’s strategy of figuring out what content users most want to see in their News Feeds has evolved over the years. In the mid-2010s, the company was most focused on increasing the amount of time users spend on the site, and frequently added clickbait articles and professionally crafted videos to user feeds.

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In 2018, Facebook changed its recommendation algorithm to prioritize posts that encourage participation, which meant raising levels of content from friends and family, as well as controversial content that elicited strong emotional reactions, according to a set of documents it shared with regulators last year. Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen.

Since then, the company has continued to change the way users find new content. Earlier this year, the company began offering users of its Instagram photo-sharing app two new ways to view content. including browsing the latest content from their favorite friends and creators, or content from the accounts they follow.

Instagram also recently updated its recommendation algorithm to prioritize original content over users who simply share other people’s posts while the app is rife with TikTok videos.

“If you create something from scratch, you should get more recognition than if you share something that you found from someone else,” said Instagram head Adam Mosseri. video announcing the change. “We’re going to do more to try and value original content more, especially when compared to re-posted content.”


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