Home Networking service Facebook’s plan to copy TikTok and change the feed is a horrible idea

Facebook’s plan to copy TikTok and change the feed is a horrible idea


It’s no secret that Facebook, with Mark Zuckerberg at the helm, has long been on the lookout for rival products capable of undermining its social media dominance. Simply put, if people are chatting or sharing media content, Facebook desperately wants that to happen under its own umbrella.

This overarching strategy became evident when the company bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. Although the purchase at the time was widely derided, it quickly became apparent that it was a decision without brilliant shame on Facebook’s part. A few years later, Facebook handed out $16 billion to the messaging service WhatsApp.

The impetus for both acquisitions was simple: people were spending more and more time other social networking apps. Naturally, Mark Zuckerberg viewed this as a threat.

Facebook’s most dangerous rival yet

These days, Facebook faces a new, arguably more powerful rival: TikTok. The popular video service, currently the most visited website in the world, is a paradise for influencers, celebrities, brands and, of course, individuals around the world.

With people spending more time sharing and consuming videos on TikTok, Facebook is concerned that people are spending less time on its apps. Equally concerning, from Facebook’s perspective, is that users may abandon Facebook altogether.

There is, after all, only so much time in the day. Simply put, users don’t have time to be active on all social media platforms.

The solution? Copy TikTok

Therefore, Facebook is looking to tackle TikTok head-on. Rather than acquiring TikTok outright, Facebook will instead seek to emulate many of its core features. This, of course, is just normal given Facebook’s willingness to generously borrow popular features from other apps.

For example, Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels are basically carbon copies of existing features pulled from Snapchat and TikTok, respectively.

However, with TikTok emerging as an ever-dominant force in the social media and social media space, Facebook is ready to step on the accelerator. In a leaked memo obtained by The edgecompany executives laid out a plan to prioritize posts that could drive engagement over posts from people people actually follow.

The edge Remarks:

Here’s how the future Facebook app will work in practice: the main tab will become a mix of stories and reels at the top, followed by posts recommended by its discovery engine on Facebook and Instagram. It will be a more visual and video experience with clearer prompts to message your friends.

Indeed, Facebook will try to emulate TikTok’s For You page, a discovery engine that expertly distributes videos while keeping consumers engaged for hours on end.

Facebook’s risky strategy

The business strategy behind Facebook’s approach makes sense on a superficial level. However, it has the potential to destroy what made Facebook popular in the first place – the real connections between friends, family and acquaintances.

Facebook is a place where people go to share updates, photos and videos with their social network. Restructuring the app so that people interact more strongly with people and creators they have no connection to seems short-sighted and, in my opinion, will only serve to drive more people away.

Facebook’s approach also misses a key element, which is that TikTok itself isn’t necessarily a social network. While Instagram and WhatsApp users regularly interact with people they know, the reverse is true for TikTok.

Of course, users can send TikTok videos and participate in chats on the side. However, the main focus of the app is for users to watch engaging content from creators around the world.

The inherent advantage of TikTok

At this point, Blake Chandlee, a former Facebooker who is now President of TikTok’s Global Business Solutions, recently explained that TikTok is more of an entertainment platform than a social network.

“Facebook is a social platform,” Chandlee said in an interview. with CNBC. “They built all their algorithms based on the social graph. This is their main skill. Ours is not. We are an entertainment platform. The difference is significant. It’s a huge difference.

Chandlee is there. One of the reasons TikTok works so well is precisely because it doesn’t work like a social network. TikTok is not a place where I can keep tabs on everything my friends are doing on the app. It’s a place where I can see what interesting people are doing around the world.

Is it now possible that users are using Facebook differently and the company is simply reacting to the changing tide? Certainly. Especially because video is such an important part of how people spend time on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and co. can simply look at a change that is already underway. However, that doesn’t make TikTok’s copycat plan any more feasible.

Personally, I think Facebook may be flirting with danger here. One of the reasons the app is so “sticky” is because of the personal and social connections that can’t be found elsewhere. Where else, after all, am I going to follow an old college friend I haven’t seen in years?

If Facebook becomes more of a haven for viral videos, that’s great. But then it’s no different than TikTok and even more consumable.

Pressure from Wall Street

The reality is that Facebook is unfortunately a slave to Wall Street. Remember that analysts are constantly analyzing metrics related to user growth and how long users spend on the site. As a result, even in fiscal quarters where Facebook generates impressive earnings and strong earnings growth, investors will hammer the stock if the aforementioned user metrics don’t progress enough.

In turn, Facebook now finds itself pushed to its limits. Now he must actually try to copy TikTok but risks alienating users in the process.

This tweet from a few months ago sums up Facebook’s predicament perfectly.

By design, Facebook tries to foster and enhance real-world connections. That’s why the company pushes groups so aggressively. The company tries to be everything to everyone. But the reality is that it’s just not a viable long-term solution.