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Is Facebook yesterday’s news? | Star

What is Facebook anymore? Asking one of the largest human experiments in history seems like a strange question. Every month, 3 billion people log on to social platforms. This is a kind of mind-bending person who stirs the imagination.

Still, it’s getting harder and harder to understand what that point really is. Want to share your photos with your friends? Instagram is much better if you want to publish it, and messaging is much better if you want to be private. Want to post something to the world and work on your ideas? Use Twitter instead. And if you want to connect with the whole world, you need to join TikTok, where short videos are the driving force of modern culture.

Facebook and its parent company Meta know that too. In a memo obtained by tech site The Verge, Facebook executives have come up with plans to rebuild their Facebook feeds like TikTok. That is, shorter video formats and more content from disconnected people.

It’s still unclear if it will work. But it completely highlighted a pretty amazing idea. Facebook seems to be declining, and something new has robbed it of its cultural relevance.

What makes that claim particularly strange is that Facebook’s size is historically unprecedented. With the exception of Wal-Mart, Amazon and GM, few companies on the planet have as many direct customers as Facebook.

Still, Facebook actually lost users for the first time last year. As a report from The Verge points out, the company’s users are also aging, and younger users are spending time elsewhere. TikTok downloads were 20% more than Facebook, and iPhone users spent 78% more time on TikTok than the Meta platform.

In other words, Facebook seems to have peaked.

That’s exactly why the company is Meta instead of Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recognizes that people only scroll through text feeds for a very long time. Instead, he’s trying to build a “metaverse,” the idea that there is a digital replica of the world where people meet and play.

It seems very uncertain whether that will actually happen. There are many interesting applications in the Metaverse (think of a virtual 4D architectural plan that allows designers to catch problems before the concrete is actually poured), but you and I face the headset in virtual reality. There seem to be many ideas to cover it. More suspicious.

But the other part of what’s happening here is that social media has always lived in a slightly strange middle space. On the one hand, it’s a way to catch up with friends and family. On the other hand, it’s a place to catch up with the world: the press, local businesses, your community.

Perhaps part of the reason Facebook has declined is that Facebook is trying to serve both half of its divisions, where to find news, buy and sell groups, and find funny cat videos. At the same time, it’s also a way to connect directly with social circles. ..

In contrast, TikTok won the gold medal because it focused on displaying content with interest, not on whether or not it was actually connected to people, rather than being a place to connect with friends. Apps that were primarily focused on lip sync and music now display very short videos of all kinds. Watch some videos about cooking, humor and makeup. TikTok offers more of the same, with occasional insertions of popular viral clips and new ones.

If you want to feel connected, like when you turn on MuchMusic or listen to the radio, TikTok is for you. This is because it is a place where young people are creating culture. And Facebook, which instead shows you photos of your uncle’s vacation and posts from Ben Shapiro, feels like last year.

To be clear, Facebook still has billions of advertising revenues, and as we know, few challengers to social spaces. But it’s a digital issue. In particular, apps like TikTok can attract about 1 billion users out of nowhere, so the social space we know can change radically. One-fifth of the world’s population.

However, Facebook has one bright spot, not Facebook itself. Instagram is a growing photo sharing app. The reason is not a mystery either. Instead of trying to do everything to everyone, we are doing one thing and one thing well. Unfortunately, that may be a lesson that may be too late for Facebook. It may soon find another remnant of the past in a digital world where no one waits.

Navneet Alang is a Toronto-based star freelance contribution technology columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @navalang

Is Facebook yesterday’s news? | Star

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