Facebook is ditching friends and family to compete with TikTok

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Facebook announced on Thursday that it is overhauling the design of its flagship social network by elevating content from creators above posts from friends and family in a bid to fend off intensifying competition for users’ attention. from TikTok.

In a statement, Facebook said users’ default screen, known as Home, will display more entertaining posts from outside creators and provide easy access to Facebook’s short-form video service known as Reels as well. than to its short-lived video product known as Stories.

Users who want to see the most recent posts from their friends, family, and favorite pages and groups will find them in a new “Feed” tab. Users will be able to create a favorites list of people and groups whose content they most want to see.

“The app will always open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend content that we think will be of most interest to you,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. message. “But the Feeds tab will allow you to further customize and control your experience.”

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Facebook, which last year rebranded itself as Meta, has invested aggressively in its video products to appeal to younger users against ByteDance’s video-sharing app TikTok, which has become the social media platform to the fastest growing in the world thanks to its personalized delivery of short and engaging videos. . Zuckerberg said investing and figuring out how to make more money with its similar product, Reels, is a top priority for the company.

In the last three months of last year, Facebook announced that it had lost daily users for the first time in its 18-year history, sending its stock price plummeting. While the number of social media users remained stable at the start of this year, company executives said they were focusing their energies on attracting the attention of young people.

By contrast, TikTok has seen its US user base soar to over 110 million.

Facebook’s strategy for determining the content users most want to see in their News Feeds has been evolving for years. In the mid-2010s, the company was mostly focused on increasing the time users spent on the site and often increased clickbait articles and professionally produced videos in user feeds.

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In 2018, Facebook changed its recommendation algorithm to prioritize posts that encouraged engagement, which involved elevating content from friends and family, but also divisive content that elicited intense emotional reactions. , according to a trove of documents shared with regulators last year by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Since then, the company has continued to change the way users find new content. Earlier this year, it started offering users of its Instagram photo-sharing app two new ways to view content. including catching up with the latest content from their favorite friends and creators or content from the accounts they follow.

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