It is no secret to anyone that social networks maintain a war to the death between them. For many years, Facebook has managed to navigate this battle and has remained the global favorite, but lately his reign is being threatened by the irruption of TikTok (introduces suspenseful music).
Facebook radically changes its algorithm to be more like TikTok
With TikTok growing in popularity, especially among younger people, Meta executives are watching every move it makes, like a lion poised to pounce on its prey. Seeing that the addition of Instagram Reels to Facebook has not been enough and after conversations with Mark Zuckerberg himself earlier this year, the social network decided to remake its feed to be more similar to TikTok, in addition to changing the behavior of your algorithm.
After speculation and leaks, the features of this update have finally been fully (and officially) known. It has been nothing more and nothing less than Mark Zuckerberg who has published on your Facebook profile a video illustrating these changes.
Two feeds, one with recommended content and one divided into sections
Facebook seems to be immersed in a commitment to content segmentation, something that we already saw when it announced that it would allow a user to create up to 5 profiles linked to a common account. And, now, we appreciate it again in its new update, through which it intends to emulate TikTok to recover the interest of its users and compete with the Chinese social network.
The main Facebook user interface will now contain a “Home” panewhich will focus on offering recommended content to the user, and a new “Feed” divided into five sections. The latter will concentrate the following categories: «All», «Favorites», «Friends», «Groups» and «Pages».
In this way, the user can filter the content you want to view at any time, being able to choose if you want Facebook to determine content of interest to you, in the “Home” feed, or if you prefer to see only posts from the pages you follow, for example. This could become problematic for brandssince their posts would reach users depending on the page they were on.
Facebook does not abandon its main objective: the connection between family and friends
Before this update was released, since some Facebook employees had begun to rise up worried voices in case this change of course could affect the platform, moving it away from its main premise: bringing family and friends closer. An employee stated that this action showed “a real risk in this approach that we lose focus on our core differentiation (the social graph and human choice) in favor of pursuing short-term interests and trends.”
However, Zuckerberg himself has addressed this issue, giving it all the prominence, in his statement: “One of the most requested features of Facebook is make sure people don’t miss their friends’ posts. So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see your friends’ posts, groups, pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open in a custom feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll be most interested in. But heThe Feeds tab will give you a way to further customize and control your experience.«.
Update that responds to a series of previous leaks
The digital medium The Verge obtained the leak of an internal memorandum from the end of April in which Tom Alison, head of Facebook in Meta, gave the instructions of the new master plan of the social network. In this it was reported that instead of prioritizing the publications of the accounts that users follow, the main Facebook feed would recommend engaging posts to the user, regardless of authorship, just like TikTok does. Beyond this change, another of the key points of the detailed plan was that Messenger and Facebook would reunite to mimic the messaging functionality of TikTok.
“The risk for us is that we dismiss this as not being valuable to people as a form of communication and social connection and we can’t evolveSo Alison told her employees in the memo.
The Verge and Tom Alison met to discuss the leaked documents: The executive explained that Facebook’s new goal was to build its discovery engine. In addition, he acknowledged that it took the company a long time to identify in TikTok a real threat competitive, even when its growth was thanks to the ads and advertisements that invaded Instagram and Facebook.
Facebook pursues the success of TikTok, as it has already done with other networks
It cannot be denied that the operation of TikTok came in a disruptive way in the field of social networks with its feed “For you”, which bases the displayed content based on users’ passive viewing habitsand prioritize sending interesting content that they might like over the need to follow accounts.
The numbers don’t lie: despite his short time in the industry, TikTokowned by the technology conglomerate ByteDance, has been downloaded 3.6 billion times according to mobile app research agency Sensor Tower. He also indicated that during the past year the TikTok downloads were higher than Facebook and Instagram by 20% and 21% respectively. Meanwhile, the golden years of Facebook seem to be passing, as by the end of 2021, Meta reported a loss of users for the first time in its history.
However, the social network has been paddling against the current for some time and resisting being forgotten and, to do so, it has used this same strategy. Facebook/Meta has copied features from other social networks throughout its history (such as reels or stories), but now things are more serious. If Zuckerberg wants to continue building his dream of the metaverse, the company needs to show that it can continue to grow and assure investors that your advertising business will continue to be profitable.
Now executives hope that this strategy at Facebook can help them attract young audiences. At this point, only time will tell if it has been worth Facebook transforming itself to look even more like TikTok by blatantly copying its features, as it once copied Snapchat stories.
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