The announcement that Facebook is changing its News Feed to de-emphasise content from publishers and brands may be good news for users, but for many the re-alignment may have come a little bit too late. Stuart Dorman links in to the Facebook story.
Like thousands of others worldwide, I’ve finding that I simply don’t care as much about Facebook as I used to. It turns out I’m not alone, with recent news reporting that core Facebook consumption has now failed to grow year-on-year for a second consecutive month.
So why the slight decline? Are we reaching peak Facebook?
I suspect I’m not the only one feeling frustrated with the sheer volume of corporate news and adverts that fills up my news feed and wastes too much of my time. There definitely seems to have been a general shift away from Facebook’s core focus on friends and family-related content.
I’ve also found that I’m increasingly using other social media to do things that I had previously used Facebook for. A recent survey reported that sending private messages to friends or family, and sharing personal photos were the two top reasons people gave for using Facebook. However, I’m now typically relying on WhatsApp to handle these two activities.
As a consumer, I’ve also been concerned about the amount of personal data that social media networks like Facebook are collecting. With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook has access to more macro and microdata than almost any organisation in history, and that’s a problem when even Facebook admits that social media and the issue of personalisation remain a ‘work in-progress’.
My Facebook doubts seem to mirror the general feeling of mistrust reported in the latest Edelman Trust Barometer launched this week. According to the report, young people are switching off from social media, with 33 per cent saying they were using Facebook less than a year ago. With trust uppermost in the customer engagement agenda this year, it will be interesting to see how the social media firms respond to key 2018 compliance initiatives such as GDPR.
To be fair, Facebook and other social channels are working hard to address these issues. However, Mark Zuckerberg’s new year pledge to ‘fix Facebook’, makes me think there’s still some way to go.
In a way, I’m a bit disappointed in my reaction – particularly as Facebook is innovating so successfully in other areas such as messaging. The fact, for example, that Facebook now supports business interactions that allow me to start interactions online and then carry them on in Facebook Messenger, or that I can search across the social network’s 2 billion + users and millions of companies to make a call or start a chat conversation, makes connecting so much easier.
Maybe this is actually the future of social media, rather than the somewhat frustrating Facebook 1.0 that I’ve been struggling with lately?
Stuart Dorman is Chief Innovation Officer, Sabio
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