Everything you know or thought you knew about Facebook is about to change. The platform is about to get a complete facelift.
With a seemingly unending supply of social media sites to kill time with these days, Facebook has remained a constant. It began as a platform to connect you with friends and family. Despite its numerous updates over the years, connecting people still remained the primary purpose. Now all that is changing.
Last week, Facebook announced they are making sweeping changes to how your feed appears. No longer will friends and family take priority when you log in. Instead, you will get directed to a page called “Home.” This page will have content specifically tailored to you by AI algorithms. What you see will be a collection of photos, shorts, and reels that are going viral. It is also where you will have the option to create your own reels.
To access news from your friends and family, you will now have to click on a separate tab called “Feeds”. Depending on your platform, this could appear either at the top or bottom of your device. The Feeds tab will house all updates from any groups, pages, and friends. According to Meta, updates from your friends will still populate in chronological order. Once you are on your Feeds tab, much of the functionality will be similar to its current state.
If it feels like sites owned by parent company Meta are changing rapidly lately, it is because they are. In the summer of 2021, Instagram experienced sweeping changes to try and mirror the success of TikTok. During that update, Instagram started encouraging a new feature called reels, which began getting prioritized in feeds. Now it’s Facebook’s turn.
According to Meta, the reason for these changes is that the landscape of social media users is changing, and they are trying to target younger users. The average age of Facebook users is much higher than other social media platforms – at 40.5 years old. For their major competitor, TikTok, most users are in the 18-34 age range. The popularity of sites like TikTok for younger users could help explain the revenue troubles Facebook has recently experienced.
Over the last few years, TikTok has taken the social media crowd by storm. People love their short, viral video clips and liberally share them across every platform. As TikTok continues seeing growth in both user numbers and financially, it can no longer get written off as a novelty. Most social media sites have begun making shifts to incorporate short video clips. The latest upgrades to Facebook’s interface will prioritize this as well.
Facing profit loss, slower sales, and a loss in users, Meta now needs to compete in a rapidly changing market. Facebook, in particular, needs to gain and retain new users. Meta leadership hopes that by making these changes to the site, they will start to attract a younger demographic. If they are successful in doing so, they can finally gain a competitive edge against TikTok. But time will show whether or not current users will be happy with the changes.