Meta tweaks the Facebook app to behave more like TikTok.

For most of Facebook’s history, its executives played a tried-and-true play: Imitating the success of others.

On Thursday, the company, which has been renamed Meta, continues that tactic with a revamp of its main Facebook app that will change the way users browse the service and make it behave more like one its biggest competitor.

Facebook users will soon open the app to a new Home tab, which will feature a feed with photos, looping videos, and status updates from a mix of friends and family. The Home tab will also show a variety of posts from people and pages not connected to the user’s network, labeled “Recommended for you”.

That category will be driven by what Facebook’s algorithm thinks someone might want to see, based on thousands of cues of personal information and a user’s browsing history on Facebook. The so-called discovery engine behind those algorithms is powered by Facebook’s artificial intelligence technology.

In short, the Facebook app will work more like TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app. While Facebook has traditionally connected people with content produced by their friends, TikTok relies on video-based algorithmic signals and viral content to show viewers engaging posts that aren’t meant to be. no need to rely on someone’s network of friends or connections.

The change is part of Meta’s efforts to promote the use of its social apps, including Instagram. In recent months, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, has promoted video products on Instagram and Facebook, with the company inserting more recommendations to engage users and return to the app more often. use. On Instagram, the formula seems to be working, Mr. Zuckerberg said.

The Home tab follows a popular social media trend known as “discovery,” which essentially relies on algorithms and machine learning to better understand the types of content users might like and enjoy. service that the person does not need to make an effort to find. Facebook is investing heavily in that area, as are companies like Snap and Twitter.

TikTok’s emphasis on discovering and delivering engaging content has become a social media phenomenon. Founded less than a decade ago, TikTok has added hundreds of millions of users over the past few years. Young people spend more than 90 minutes a day watching TikTok, according to some estimatessurpasses even YouTube in terms of time spent in apps.

That has put pressure on Meta’s line of apps. Its executives have become concerned about the percentage of younger users migrating to TikTok and other burgeoning social media apps.

To combat the attrition, Facebook and Instagram executives made product changes in response to the moves of their competitors. In 2020, Instagram Introducing Reelsa short-form, repeatable video product that closely resembles one produced by TikTok.

In the Facebook app update, users will see more short-form videos and Stories in the Home tab as the company refines its algorithms and improves the discovery experience. Home page content can also include photos or posts from pages and groups that the user has not yet followed.

Users can still choose to only see content from friends, family or certain pages – without seeing unconnected posts, recommendations – by navigating to the new Feeds tab. In the Feeds tab, people can see content in categories like posts from friends, posts from groups they belong to and pages they subscribe to, or a stream of everything combined and posted in order reverse time.

Mr. Zuckerberg said people still have control over what they see in the app with the Feeds tab.

“One of the most requested features for Facebook is making sure people don’t miss out on friends’ posts,” he said in a Facebook post. “The app will remain open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our explorer will recommend the content we think you’ll be most interested in. But the Feeds tab will give you a way to customize and control your experience even more.”

The Facebook app update will roll out globally over the next week.

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