Facebook employees have been given a new directive to make the app’s feed more like TikTok, according to an internal memo from late April, which was accessed by The Verge. According to the memo, Facebook’s main feed will start recommending posts regardless of where they come from, instead of prioritising posts from accounts that people follow. This is similar to how TikTok uses artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend short-form videos from across the platform to its users.
According to The Verge, executives at Meta have been closely tracking TikTok and had grown worried about the possibility that Facebook wasn’t doing enough to compete. TikTok continues to grow in markets such as the US, and has gained tremendous popularity among teen users.
So executives at Facebook are rethinking the feed entirely. For users, this means get ready to be flooded by more Reels, even from those who you don’t follow. This is similar to how Facebook began copying Snapchat as the latter started growing rapidly but the stakes could be even higher this time.
In February, Meta had announced that Facebook’s global daily active users declined from the previous quarter for the first time. The company posted weaker-than-expected forecasts at the time, blaming Apple’s privacy changes and increased competition from rivals including TikTok. This sent the social media giant’s shares plunging by almost 20 per cent.
The company’s shares eventually rebounded in April after Facebook eked out user growth. But that may not be enough for the company as it tries to fund chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision, something that it has already spent $10 billion on.
In the future, the Facebook app’s main tab could become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top followed by posts from Facebook and Instagram recommended by its discovery engine. It would be a more visual and video-heavy experience that will have clearer prompts to direct message posts to friends. Facebook is also working on placing a user’s Messenger Inbox at the top right of the app, essentially undoing the split of Facebook and Messenger.
The last time Facebook had such a major overhaul was in 2018 when Zuckerberg said that users’ News Feeds would be shifted back towards showing more posts from their friends and family and away from showing posts from businesses and media outlets after user feedback about the feed “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”