Yesterday Facebook reported revenue for the quarter fell 1 percent from a year ago to $28.8 billion — the first revenue decline for the company — and average revenue per user as well as slight misses on its expected daily and monthly active users .
It’s a relatively terrifying report for Facebook that only confirms many of the problems we know it’s working on for a bit: TikTok is on the rise, Apple’s new privacy settings make it harder for Facebook to advertise on the iPhone. And the Kardashians hate everything Instagram is doing.
Mark Zuckerberg’s solution to all this? Making Facebook worse by doubling the amount of content you don’t ask to see in your feed.
“One of the main changes in our business right now is that social feeds are being primarily driven by the people and accounts you follow and AI-recommended content that drives you across Facebook or Instagram. interesting, even if you don’t follow those creators,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. “Right now, about 15% of the content in a person’s Facebook feed and slightly more than their Instagram feed is recommended by our AI to people, groups, or accounts you don’t follow. We expect this number to more than double by the end of next year.”
This, of course, goes against what Facebook has said as it has been blamed for spreading misinformation, allowing white nationalism, and helping Donald Trump ascend to the presidency. Back in 2018, Zuckerberg’s soul-searching led him to prioritize posts from friends and family members in the News Feed as opposed to posts from publishers and brands. A 1 percent drop in revenue, however, appears to mean none of it if it hurts the company’s bottom line.
The decision to force unfollowed content on a user’s feed isn’t just an unwanted move, the lion’s share is actually the result of Facebook and Instagram trying to emulate other social media platforms. Take the most recent iteration of Instagram’s pivot to video, meant to take the threat of competitors like TikTok and Snapchat by doubling down on video content, features, and a design interface reminiscent of their operation.
Still, the moves have been widely unpopular as efforts have been made by the company to defend them. Earlier this week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri was rolled out by Facebook for sharing a video on Instagram defending a wave of unpopular changes on its social media platform.
“Now, if you’re seeing things in your feed that are recommendations that you’re not interested in, that means we’re doing poor job rankings, and we need to improve,” Mosseri said. “But we will continue to try and improve upon the recommendations because we think it is one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people.”
This isn’t the first time Mosseri has been rolled out to defend video’s latest pivot, nor will it be the last. After negative feedback on the video and on Twitter, Mosseri again tried and defended pushing unfollows and video content on users. “One thing I hear a lot is people asking to see more friend content in feed,” says Mosseri. tweeted, “I wish there was more friend content in the feed, but all the increase in photos and videos from friends has been in stories and DMs.”
Facebook, easily one of the most powerful and influential monopolies in the world, has the resources and talent to envision new and exciting ways to operate social media – or to preserve existing ones that users enjoy. take and prioritize. Instead, the company has doubled down on trying to shape user behavior into more profitable patterns and move them toward more profitable mediums. The push for video content, like Facebook’s foray into the metaverse, isn’t about expression or social networks, but about what Facebook has always prioritized: profit.