Mark Zuckerberg’s mid-life crisis
Despite all the reports of fake news, fake Russian ads, and the overall abuse of its platform, Facebook has repeatedly refused to admit it’s a media company. Facebook announced a change to its News Feed algorithm that will keep posts from news publishers and brands out of your feed. This means more stuff in your feed from mom, dad, and your close friends, and fewer whacky videos, news articles, and memes.
As of August 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media — with two-in-ten doing so often, according to a survey from Pew Research Center.
Despite all the reports of fake news, fake Russian ads, and the overall abuse of its platform, Facebook has repeatedly refused to admit it’s a media company. That new position is going to be a nightmare for a lot of digital media companies that have grown to rely on Facebook’s News Feed to drive readers to their sites. There’s a growing list of media companies that have been forced to drastically change strategy as a result of their reliance on the company’s repeatedly changing algorithm, and this will likely be the final straw for many of them. But, what about Facebook users?
Does Facebook really believe that I want to see where my friends are and what their children are doing? Like a lot of other people I use Facebook as a great RSS feed of my favorite sites. Now Facebook is taking that away and replacing it with posts of people showing the snow on the road up North.
What does this means brands?
In all likelihood Facebook is going to lose a lot of people. Publishers, who are angry at Facebook, will take out their wrath by choosing a Facebook competitor and hope that audiences follow them to other platforms.
It would have simple for Facebook to verify news feeds as credible versus fake, but rather than try to get over that mountain Mark has chosen to give the middle finger to users and publishers by saying “I know what’s best”.
As for brand Facebook has pretty much become a non-factor and is further indication of the decline of social media marketing. Anyone who believes that consumers want to interact with most brands believes that Trump is a genius , but remember this is the same company that sent lawyers to Capital Hill to answer Congress on fake news rather than company executives.
The hard truth about social media sites is that users define what they are and what they become not the platform itself. I have already stopped going to my Facebook feed and I’m sure more and more people will do the same.
Sheryl Sandberg was supposed to be the experienced business person for Facebook, but really, can anyone really name one accomplishment she has made to Facebook other than becoming stinking rich and building a multimillion dollar mansion in the area? She, of all Facebook executives should have been the one to step up and say “let users decide if they want more posts from friends” but, her voice is again quiet.
All those predictions about digital marketing in 2018 have just been thrown out the window . Now it’s back to digital marketing 101: search and creating a great website that people actually want to visit.
Originally published at www.newmediaandmarketing.com on January 14, 2018.