Category Archives: Facebook

Facebook Shifts Resources Away From News To Focus On Creator Economy



Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook is reallocating resources from its Facebook News tab and newsletter platform Bulletin, as the company focuses more on the creator economy, senior executive Campbell Brown told employees in a memo, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Brown, a former journalist who leads Facebook’s global media partnerships, said the company would shift engineering and product support away from the two products as “those teams heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy.” The decision was made at the product level, not by the partnerships team that Ms. Brown is a part of, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Facebook News is a curated selection of news stories that users can find as a tab on the mobile app or website, similar to the Facebook Watch tab for video. Bulletin, which Facebook unveiled in June 2021, is a subscription platform meant to compete with Substack. It is aimed at supporting independent writers.

The Hill reported that, in a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Meta, the company that owns Facebook, said it evaluates products to ensure that they are bringing the most “meaningful experiences” to users on the platform.

“We regularly evaluate the products we offer to ensure we’re focused on the most meaningful experiences for people on Facebook and the future of our business,” a Meta spokesperson said. “We remain committed to the success of creators, and are doing even more to ensure they can find audiences on Facebook and grow engaged communities there.

In October of 2019, Facebook announced that it was starting to test Facebook News, which was described as “a dedicated place for news on Facebook”, to a subset of people in the United States. The initial test showcased local original reporting from the largest major metro areas of the country, beginning with New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington D.C., Miami, Atlanta, and Boston.

In June of 2020, Facebook rejected a proposal by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to share advertising revenue with Australian news organizations, The Guardian reported. Facebook says there would “not be significant” impacts on its business if it stopped sharing news altogether.

In 2021, ABC News reported that Facebook had to walk back its block on Australian users sharing news on the site after the government agreed to make amendments to the proposed media bargaining laws that would force major tech giants to pay news outlets for their content.

No one should be surprised that Facebook is now pushing toward creator content, and away from news content, considering the platform’s history on the topic.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook has paid publishers who participate in the News program. The company signed deals worth tens of millions of dollars with news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. But, as these deals approach their expiration dates this year, Facebook began to signal to publishers and others in the industry that renewing the deals wasn’t a priority.


Facebook Wants You To Share Reels From Third-Party Apps



Meta (parent company of Facebook) has introducedSharing to Reels. It is described on the Meta for Developers site as “a new way for developers to make it easy for people to share video directly to Facebook”.

Enabling Sharing to Reels makes it easy for people to share short-form videos directly to Facebook. Once integrated, third-party apps will have a Reels button so people can share short videos, then customize with Reels editing tools like audio, text, effects, captions and stickers. Instead of downloading their video content and uploading it later, they can now create and share video seamlessly with one tap.

At launch, Facebook has partnered with Smule, Vita, and VivaVideo who have integrated #SharingToReels and are finding new ways for Creators to express themselves, grow their communities, and reach new audiences.

Personally, I’ve never heard of those companies. I’m also wondering why Facebook didn’t choose to include Instagram which has its own version of Reels (and is also connected to Meta). That seems like the obvious choice!

TechCrunch reported: While Reels first began as a way to directly combat TikTok with a feature inside the Instagram app, Meta also brought them to Facebook shortly after. The company touted during its Q4 2021 earnings that Reels is now its “fastest-growing content format by far.” The company also said Reels was the biggest contributor to growth on Instagram and “growing very quickly” on Facebook, too.

Facebook also did not mention TikTok, which is pretty much all about reels. Why? Engadget may have the answer to that question.

Engadget reported: Facebook is taking another step to encourage users to create original content for its TikTok clone. The company introduced a “sharing to Reels” feature to allow users of third-party apps to post directly to Facebook Reels.

Engadget also reported: Now, with Facebook losing users to TikTok, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has staked a lot on the success of Reels. He said last fall that Reels would be “as important for our products as Stories” and that reorienting its service to appeal to younger users was the company’s “North Star”.

In short, Facebook made a clone that does what TikTok and Instagram have already been doing. Cloning features from other social media platforms is not new. If Facebook excludes TikTok and/or Instagram from Reels, Facebook users might simply decide to continue posting their content on either Instagram or TikTok instead bringing it to Facebook.


Meta Lost Daily Users Last Quarter



The Washington Post reported that Meta, the new name for the company formerly known as Facebook, reported Wednesday that Facebook lost daily users last quarter for the first time ever. According to The Washington Post, the company as a whole, which includes Instagram and WhatsApp, continued to grow, Facebook stalled just shy of 2 billion log-ins a day.

The Washington Post also reported that “Facebook may have peaked in 2021” was the most symbolic data point in a gloomy corporate earnings report that sent Meta’s stock into an epic, historical spiral. The stock lost $220 billion from its value. The loss was greatest in Africa, Latin America, and India, suggesting that the company’s product is saturated globally.

What could be the causes of this drop in daily users? The Verge reported that Meta struggled with waning relevance among young people as CEO Mark Zuckerberg refocused its aim toward “metaverse” plans. The Washington Post reported that Facebook is losing younger users to TikTok.

In addition, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature required all companies that wanted to track users and their data across different apps and websites had to ask permission through a standardized prompt created by Apple. With the click of a button, people could prevent apps from tracking them. According to The Guardian, Facebook’s advertising model had been hit hard by privacy changes at Apple, and Facebook said it expects it will cost them millions.

Protocol reported that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar) is headed to the floor of the House. If passed into law, the legislation would prohibit large tech platforms from boosting their own produces and services on the platforms they own. That, too, could potentially take away some money from Meta.

As if that weren’t enough, CBC reported that Meta revealed, for the first time, the financials of its Reality labs division in its fourth-quarter earnings report on Wednesday. According to CBS, Reality Labs reported more than $10 billion in losses in 2021 alone. Meta would have had more than $56 billion in profit for all of last year had it not been for Reality Labs.

It seems to me, based on all of this, that Meta needs to rethink how it is running its business. I cannot see how it can recover from losses like this, year after year, as people continue to lose interest in the company’s various assets.


People Working at Meta are Leaving the Company



There has been an exodus of people leaving Meta. What does it mean when a large corporation loses so many of its higher-ups in such a short span of time? Personally, it is unclear to me whether these people are leaving because they have been asked to, or if Meta is simply not the type of company they wish to continue working for.

CNBC reported that Deborah Liu, formerly of Facebook Marketplace, left Facebook in February of 2021, to become CEO of Ancestry.com.

CNBC also reported that Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s former ads chief, announced she would be leaving jn June of 2021. She went to grocery delivery app Instacart. Fidji Simo, who was head of the Facebook app, became CEO of Instacart after leaving Facebook.

On November 30, 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that David Marcus, a longtime Meta Platforms Inc. executive who worked on messaging and led the company’s “heavily scrutinized” cryptocurrency initiatives, announced his resignation. He is set to leave Meta at the end of this year.

On December 7, 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that Stan Chudnovsky, who has been running Messenger since 2018, will step down in the second quarter of 2022.

Facebook announced in its newsroom on October 28, 2021, that the company is now Meta. This was announced at the Connect 2021 thing that CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at.

That same day, in a Founder’s Letter, Mark Zuckerberg claimed that in the future, “you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up.”

It appears that many of the executives who had been working at Facebook have been quite able to leave Meta and go on to work at other companies. Doing so did not require the use of a headset or the virtual commute to work as a hologram.


Coalition of States Investigate Instagram’s Effects on Children



A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general said Thursday it is investigating how Instagram attracts and affects young people, amping up the pressure on parent company Meta Platforms, Inc. over potential harms to its users, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to the Wall Street Journal, the attorneys general said they are investigating whether the company, formerly known as Facebook, violated consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

As you may recall, in September of 2021, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Facebook Knows Instagram is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show”.

The documents leaked to the Wall Street included information in which a study by Facebook found that teen Instagram users in the UK and US found that more than 40% of those who reported feeling “unattractive” and said the feelings started when using Instagram. The documents also stated that Facebook found that among teens who had suicidal thoughts, 13 percent of UK users and 6 percent of US users said these impulses could be tracked back to Instagram.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the attorneys general include California, Texas, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, New Jersey and Vermont.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said, “For too long, Meta has ignored the havoc that Instagram is wreaking on the mental health and well-being of our children and teens. Enough is enough. We’ve undertaken this nationwide investigation to get answers about Meta’s efforts to promote the use of this social media platform to young Californians – and determine if, in doing so, Meta violated the law.”

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said, “When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer laws.”

It seems to me that it is time for Facebook (Meta) to possibly face some consequences. When a bipartisan collation of attorneys general work together on something, it seems likely they will be able to enforce changes.


Facebook Doesn’t Want You to Have a Chronological News Feed



What’s the most important thing you want to see when you log into Facebook? For many, it is posts from friends and family. Facebook is the easiest way to connect with not only relatives, but also people that you attended high school with.

The Washington Post reported that Facebook has explored what happens when it turns off its controversial news feed ranking system – the software that decides for each user which posts they’ll see and in what order. That leaves users to see all the posts from their friends in simple, chronological order. According to The Washington Post, Facebook’s researchers decided that users are better off with Facebook’s software calling the shots.

In its article, The Washington Post noted that information from whistleblower Frances Haugen argued that Facebook’s algorithm was central to Facebook’s problems. It amplified and rewarded “hateful, divisive, misleading and sometimes outright false content by putting it at the top of users’ feeds”.

Axios reported that a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a bill that would require online platforms to let users opt-out of having personal data-driven algorithms select the content they see. It is called the Filter Bubble Transparency Act. The purpose of this bill is “To require that internet platforms give users that option to engage with a platform without being manipulated by algorithms driven by user-specific data.”

There is also a Senate version of the Filter Bubble Transparency Act. It is also bipartisan. The bill would require large-scale internet platforms that collect data from more than 1 million users and gross more than $50 million per year to provide greater transparency to consumers and allow users to view content that has not been curated as a result of a secret algorithm.

Senator John Thune stated on his website that the Filter Bubble Transparency Act “would make it easier for internet platform users to understand the potential manipulation that exists with secret algorithms and require large-scale platforms to allow those users to consume information outside of that potential manipulation zone or ‘filter bubble’”.

Personally, I’ve always thought that the algorithms used by social media companies are manipulative. In my opinion, non-chronological algorithms are used to evoke rage and/or fear in users, and also are a pipeline to spread misinformation. We would all be emotionally healthier if we could opt-out of the imposed algorithm and into a chronological timeline of self-selected topics and users.


Facebook Allowed Plagiarized Content on its Platform



The content you view on Facebook might not actually be created by the account you see it on. It may have come from someone else’s Facebook profile – without any credit given to the person who created it.

Facebook has allowed plagiarized and recycled content to flourish on its platform despite having policies against it, the tech giant’s researchers warned in internal memos. This was reported by The Wall Street Journal as part of its series on “The Facebook Files”.

About 40% of the traffic to Facebook pages at one point in 2018 went to pages that stole or repurposed most of their content, according to a research report that year by Facebook senior data analyst Jeff Allen, one of a dozen internal communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Pages are used by businesses and organizations to disseminate content on Facebook, while individual users put content on what Facebook calls “profiles”.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the researchers also wrote that Facebook has been slow to crack down on copyright infringement for fear of opening itself to legal liability.

In May of this year, (according to The Wall Street Journal), Facebook began reporting for the first time the number of copyright violations it said it identified and removed proactively, saying at the time the company had been building the technology to do so “over the past few years”. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Facebook’s penalties for posting unoriginal content aren’t great enough to meaningfully discourage the practice.

It appears, based on what The Wall Street Journal reported, that the Top-20 posts included 15 that were copied outright or repurposed from other Facebook pages or social networks such as Reddit and Twitter. One post was deleted and only four were completely original pieces of content.

There are two paragraphs from The Wall Street Journal that stood out to me. One states that posting unoriginal content continues to be a formula for success on Facebook. The other states that the tactic is an effective way to build a large audience on Facebook and has been used by foreign and domestic groups that post divisive content and peddle false information on social media.

I stopped using Facebook a long time ago. If you are still using that platform, it is time to seriously consider whether or not the photo of a cute puppy you see actually came from the profile you are looking at. If you don’t know the person behind the profile personally, you need to consider that the content on it could have been plagiarized.