Facebook abandons friends and family to compete with TikTok

Facebook abandons friends and family to compete with TikTok

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Facebook announced on Thursday that they are overtaking the design of the flagship’s social network by elevating content from creators over posts from friends and family in an attempt to ward off increasing competition for users’ attention from TikTok.

In a statement, Facebook said that users’ standard screen, known as Home, will show more entertaining posts from external creators and will provide easy access to Facebook’s short-form video service known as Reels, as well as its volatile 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 a new “Feeds” tab. Users will be able to create a favorite list of people and groups they most want to see content from.

“The app will still open for a personal feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you will care about the most,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. “But the Feeder tab will give you a way to further customize and control your experience.”

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

In the last three months of last year, Facebook reported that it lost daily users for the first time in its 18-year history, sending its stock price plunging. While social media user growth numbers held steady early this year, business leaders have said they are focusing their energies on winning the attention of young people.

In contrast, TikTok has seen its US user base rise to more than 110 million.

Facebook’s strategy for figuring out what content users most want to see in their news feeds has been evolving for years. In the mid-2010s, the company was mostly focused on increasing the time users spent on the site and often added clickbait articles and professionally produced videos to users’ feeds.

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In 2018, Facebook changed its recommendation algorithm to prioritize posts that encouraged engagement, which meant uplifting content from friends and family, but also divisive content that triggered intense emotional reactions, according to a series of documents shared with regulators last year by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen .

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

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