Facebook’s Race to TikTok Engagement
While the name “Facebook” to some may already be nostalgic, to others, it is still the primary way they communicate and connect with loved ones. Facebook, or as of more recent, “Meta,” has been able to withstand some turbulent storms in recent history but their battles are not over. A newer, edgier, and more appealing social media network has hit the internet. TikTok has dominated the internet popularity club and taken both Gen Z and Millennials off of their grandmother’s Facebook page and onto a stranger gyrating to the newest viral sound.
What does this mean for Faccebook?
Facebook has been faced with bad press, skepticism, and lawsuits prior to their rebrand in October 2021 to what is now Meta. While this created a clean new image and more future-forward looking branding, it lacked a call-to-action. Meta has an aging audience that is currently attached to a different algorithm than what is popular with the younger audience on TikTok. This requires Meta to evolve if they want to keep the next generation logging in. What this means is that they will have evolve and intensify the algorithm currently operating on the existing platform to engage the target audience in the same way as their TikTok counterparts have.
The fascinating part is that Facebook, now Meta, didn’t predict how this wild 30 second video sharing platform would end up stealing their users and their screen time. TikTok has a different approach and strategy in connecting its users. One thing that is important to note is that TikTok does not rely upon existing connections. TikTok will make recommendations based on viewing history and interests, therefore curating a special rabbit hole for its users to go down.
Facebook however, has historically relied upon those connections in order to entice its users. Rather than curating their page for content that may exist in the ether that is designed for them, they base their recommendations more than anything else on the users they are engaged with and people Facebook may believe they’re connected with.
However, Facebook is making changes. In their April memo, which was recently leaked and first reported by The Verge, they discuss the rebuilding that their own platform will require in order to move in a similar direction. While they have maintained in the most recent interview that they are continuing in the pursuit of prioritizing things that individuals want to share with their friends, they are looking into options for promoting and highlighting their own recommended content. This allows Facebook/Meta to stay true to their roots and the retain their more senior users, while still attempting to gain more frequency in use from their younger and more heavily engaged audience.
What may be the implications for Facebook and for its users? Well, while some may have in mind their data being shared more loosely, that is certainly not the case. Facebook’s settings for privacy and user-maintained security are still the same. However, if you are openly sharing content, it does mean that it has the potential to be shared with someone outside your regular circle of friends and family online. There is a word of caution since this is essentially the same as TikTok’s sharing guidelines. It is important to note that the content will still point all roads back to your profile.
Beyond privacy, the algorithm will also be rebuilt to create a simpler experience for the user. This means that there will be more videos accessible immediately, the messenger will return back to the platform, and the user experience won’t have as many tabs. With this neat changes, there will be a lot more ease in experience when accessing Fakebook’s platform.
These changes won’t of course come over night. We have some exciting years ahead. Between these updates from Facebook and the eclipse of the Meta-verse, it will certainly be an exciting ride regardless of how it ends up. As time, and machine-learning reveal themselves to us as exploring the impossible, we will continue to both observe and be party to the madness that is business competition.