Facebook reduces the number of viral videos and dubious news in its feed in the hope of retaining users, writes The Atlantic ( USA ) . Changes in the social network make you ask an important question: does the company control user behavior? Or is Facebook just following customer sentiment? What awaits the social network in the future?
One of the mysteries of Facebook is that whenever public opinion about a company seems to be the most controversial, it gives startling results on Wall Street due to which no social consequences can reduce the market value of a company’s shares. So it was even in the midst of the scandal with Cambridge Analytics (Cambridge Analytica), which began with a serious fall in prices and ended with the fact that even before the income report was published in mid-July, the cost of one Facebook share reached a record high 209.94 dollars.
Since the publication of the financial report, which showed a slowdown in the growth of the number of users and profits, the price of Facebook shares has been falling steadily, dropping to about $ 150. Even the revenues, the report on which was published on Tuesday and which significantly exceeded expectations, did not correct the Facebook clause. The growth in the number of users is still slowing down, and the head of the company,
Mark Zuckerbergwarned that the product that allowed us to build a Facebook advertising empire – the News Feed – was outdated. It will not disappear overnight, but will attract less and less attention within the Facebook ecosystem. Its replacement will occur gradually and will affect different services: history, messaging, video, and more targeted services – such as placing private announcements (Marketplace) and dating (Dating).
The changes are so significant that Zuckerberg referred to one of the biggest innovations in the history of the company “Facebook” – when the website Facebook.com became a telephone application. As early as the first days of its initial public offering of shares, this was the company’s most serious problem on the market and as a platform. Now it’s hard to believe, but then there was no assurance that Facebook could make a “leap” from the classic, computer version to the mobile — and still remain profitable.
Many people doubted that the company would succeed in business, but almost all these doubts were in vain. Facebook has not only dominated mobile devices, but has also turned its news feed into a money machine.
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg delivered a keynote address to investors:
“I want to be honest, even if we assume that we will get to where we want to go from the world of some news to the world of news and personal messages, it will take some time. And the growth of our revenues during this period may not be as high as it was during the transition of our products to mobile devices. ”
It is necessary to understand what is the meaning of his words.
In fact, Zuckerberg emphasizes two points: first, in scale, this change corresponds to the growth of the company. “I just think that this is the future,” he said. “People want to share (content) so that it is not permanently stored, and I want to make sure that we fully accept it.” Secondly, Zuckerberg urges not to forget about the stability of his company. That is, remember how last time investors were worried that Facebook was going through a difficult period due to a major product transformation, and then its share price rose from $ 35 in 2013 to $ 176 over the next five years old?
But the recognition of Zuckerberg in his appeal to investors is remarkable. According to him, over the past five years, the company has been mistaken to one degree or another – some of its product concepts were erroneous, and that now it uses the approaches of its competitors.
And when Zuckerberg started talking about messaging, you can swear that the head of Facebook, said Evan Spiegel , told the CEO of Facebook . “Public content sharing will always play an important role, but people increasingly want to share content privately, which simply means a smaller audience for exchanging messages and short stories,” Zuckerberg said. – People feel calmer, feel free to be themselves, when they know that only a small group can see their content, and when their content will not be stored permanently. And the growth of content exchange that we have observed is mainly due to the exchange of messages and stories. ”
Meanwhile, the problems of “Facebook” associated with the control over the use of its advertising service in politics, remain. Our own investigation showed how one liberal organization was able to easily evade the principles of reasonable transparency, leading the list of leaders in placing political campaign materials on the eve of mid-term elections. The news channel “Vice News” (Vice News) was able to obtain from “Facebook” permission to post materials from various fake “advertisers”. He pretended to be all 100 senators, the Islamic State (terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation – ed.) And Mike Pens, putting at ridicule introduced by the company transparency system for advertising. Although huge amounts of advertising space for campaign materials stakeholders pay from Democrats and candidates from the Democratic Party , an old user base,
“Facebook” allows you to place content in the main ecosystems of the American media extreme right. Not to mention the many countries (from Brazil to Belgium and India) that could force Facebook to change its products or the underlying system. Participants in the global market have strong competitors in China.
Since all these changes are happening at the same time, the future of Facebook seems as bleak as it has been for many years. Both users and investors and citizens do not understand what Facebook will be in the future when it responds to the most difficult year of its corporate existence. Again, even today, when I write this article, the company’s shares began to grow again and went up by more than 4%.