You did not read that title incorrectly, although it may come as a shock that the biggest social media platform in the world wants to downsize.
In 2018, Facebook wants to do exactly that – shrink – reversing the way we currently interact with the platform. We will all start to use Facebook less, as fewer articles will be available to read on the platform and fewer advertisements will grace our newsfeeds.
Facebook will slow the rate that they currently make money off of us. But why?
In an announcement made on Thursday, Facebook proclaimed their plans to create and nurture more meaningful interactions on the platform. To Facebook, a meaningful interaction is determined by the number of comments a post generates, as well as likes and shares. They’ve found that when users actively interact with posts they feel better about using social networks and, in turn, themselves.
Favouring Personal Interactions
Although the move doesn’t seem too damaging from the outset, it will affect the way your business interacts with your Facebook customer base. If Facebook is looking to favour person-to-person interactions, business-to-consumer interactions will be harder to make.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Creator of the platform, stated, in a post on his Facebook page, that small businesses, media companies, shops and even big brands will start to reach less users through the Facebook News Feed.
In the post, Zuckerberg reflects on Facebook as it stands, stating “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.”
“It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.”
He goes on to say that the platform is working on major changes, which involve favouring the posts we see from family and friends above commercial posts and advertisements, helping users to create more valuable and meaningful interactions.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
What This Means for Businesses
Although the change won’t be immediate, business pages on the platform will start to notice less interaction with their posts, simply due to the fact that they won’t be favoured as heavily and, therefore, won’t be seen as often in the News Feeds of their followers.
How this will affect paid posts, we do not yet know.
What we do know is that Facebook is taking fact checking extremely seriously, so as to dispel the 2017 ‘fake news’ rumours and prevent hoaxes from spreading. Advertisers will need to disclose the content of their advertisements, adding a level of transparency back into ads – especially those based around politics.
Businesses may need to start finding ways to capture the audience they’ve gathered on Facebook, and start engaging with them through other mediums.
Facebook has had its fair share of drama come to light in the past year, with links to Russian politics and head honchos distancing themselves from the company. However, it hasn’t halted the growth of the platform, with 2.07 Billion monthly active users (the highest of any social media platform).
Nevertheless, Facebook wants to get back to its roots of being a social media platform based on making it easier to connect with people. Growth is no longer the goal, given that the platform has already peaked its expected growth. They’ve expanded to their hearts content, and now are seeing the value in pumping the breaks on expansion.
Facebook’s goals have changed.
Facebook wants to get personal.