Bad evolution: The $3.3bn mistake Facebook’s Zuckerberg is trying to correct
Evolution is a good thing. It means that you are doing what it takes to survive.
Facebook has evolved, but to the worse.
It may have saved itself from extinction after lately realizing that it had been taking the wrong turn in the social media world.
What was happening is that Facebook was driving users away from the site, as they could no longer express themselves like they used to.
People stories were replaced with news on business and brands, which now dominate the virtual pages.
Something had to be done and quickly.
Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg has urgently started working on bringing the social media back to its roots before Facebook goes obsolete.
But at which cost?
Facebook’s $3.3bn blunder
According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg posted plans to shift users’ news feeds toward content from family and friends at the expense of news from media outlets and businesses.
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us[…] But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other[…],” he said in a statement posted on Facebook last Friday.
“Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
This announcement cost the young entrepreneur $3.3 billion, as Facebook shares were trading at $179.37 on Friday, down more than 4.4% compared to Thursday’s price of $187.77.
What are Zukerberg’s real intentions?
In contradiction to Zuckerberg’s announcement on Facebook, The Independent attributed the motive behind this move to his plan to increase advertising on Facebook.
“The change might have been influenced by Facebook’s alleged desire to counteract what the company is believed to refer to as ‘context collapse’,” said the Independent.
“This is the phenomenon where people stop sharing as much information about their personal lives on Facebook, yielding less useful data for the advertisers on whom Facebook relies to make its money.”
“Tweaking the news feed to encourage people to talk about their personal lives might, therefore, be seen as a means of increasing Facebook’s commercial value.”
No matter what the real motive is, Facebook is not the only social platform to have changed its strategy to the better.
Twitter used a reverse strategy.
It rolled out a marketing strategy in 2016, changing the perception of Twitter from being a social network enabling users to connect with family and friends to being the “go to” place for all news updates, according to Forbes.
“This effort stems from the company’s research which revealed that, while 90% of people globally recognized the Twitter brand but did not use the site because they misunderstood what Twitter is,” said Forbes.
Mashable, a tech and entertainment side, reveals that in November 2017 Twitter started testing a new look for Moments on iOS and Android, to make its design more consistent with the rest of the site.
“Instead of the current format, which emphasizes photos and videos and arranges tweets horizontally, the new design features vertical scrolling,” it explained.
“We’re experimenting with a new vertical format for Moments, based on research that shows Moments may be easier to consume if they are more consistent with the Twitter experience. This new format will continue to showcase curated stories about what’s happening — the content in Moments remains the same,” a Twitter spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Twitter posted strong Q3 2017 earnings, beating revenue and earning per share estimates, while giving higher-than-expected guidance for the fourth quarter, according to CNBC.
Thompson Reuters puts 2017 revenues at $590 million with monthly active users at 330 million.
“We’re proud that the improvements we’re making to the product continue to bring people back to Twitter on a daily basis. It’s our job to help people stay informed about what’s happening in the world,” CEO Jack Dorseysaid said in a statement.
The biggest change that LinkedIn made since its inception is its acquisition by Microsoft in 2016 for $26 billion.
According to Recode, a technology platform, the reason behind this acquisition in that LinkedIn’s stock was struggling.
“LinkedIn’s stock was down more than 43% since July 2015, and there wasn’t much reason to believe it would regain that value anytime soon,” it said.
Also, LinkedIn’s ad business was slowing down.
“LinkedIn wasn’t selling ads the way people expected it to. And joining forces with Microsoft might help, since LinkedIn may now be able to sell ads alongside Microsoft Office’s suite of products that reach a lot more people than LinkedIn’s current user base,” it said.
It added that LinkedIn didn’t grow much in 2015, and that was a problem for investors who are used to more from the company.
In 2017, LinkedIn unveiled its very own video strategy, under which users can upload a video of themselves and upload or share it for reaching out to potential employers.