Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Facebook is only 18, but it’s in the midst of a midlife crisis, with dwindling user numbers and TikTok eating its Gen Z lunch. In response, the company is trying to push more video content from creators to users’ feeds and is now shifting resources away from more text-focused products like the News tab and the bulletin newsletter platform.

As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook CEO Campbell Brown told employees about this change in priorities in a recent memo. Brown said the engineering and product teams at Meta-owned Facebook would spend less time on News and Bulletin going forward to “increase their focus on building a more robust Creator economy.”

This change in priority was independently confirmed by: The edgewhile a spokesperson for Meta told the WSJ that the company is always assessing where to allocate resources, and that its teams “remain committed to the success of creators and do even more to ensure they can find audiences on Facebook and grow engaged communities there.”

Facebook launched News in 2019, paying organizations like The New York Times and Washington Post to bundle their content. The News tab combined human-curated stories with algorithmic recommendations, while deals with news channels were worth millions of dollars. It’s been reported that Facebook isn’t too interested in extending these contracts, though the company hasn’t made any official announcements about it yet.

Meanwhile, Facebook Bulletin was launched last year to rival newsletter giant Substack, and the company attracted some big names to its launch, such as bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell. But the product doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression since then, with Facebook instead emphasizing its slow and “meaningful” development. In a blog post last year, one of the few hard stats the company offered about Bulletin’s size was that “half of the creators on Bulletin have more than 1,000 free email subscribers, and many have more than 5,000 or 10,000” — small ones. numbers seen The gigantic size of Facebook.

The news of this shift in focus should therefore come as no surprise. In June, The edge reported on changes Facebook was planning to make to its main algorithm; turn users’ feeds into TikTok-lite by centering visual content from creators rather than updates from friends. In such a video-heavy world, it makes sense for newsletters and news in general to be put on the back burner.

Additional reporting by Alex Heath.

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