For a long time, Meta has stifled competition by either purchasing the platform or introducing matching features that are popular among users. This trick has so far worked well with WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat. However, another social media platform has captured attention and is posing a significant threat to the company. TikTok has already been identified as a competitor by Meta.
According to the memo, which was written by Tom Alison, the head of the Facebook app at Meta, the goal is to transform Facebook into a “Discovery Engine,” which would rely heavily on recommendations, similar to TikTok’s “For You” feed. Recommendations would primarily come from “unconnected” content, such as Reels, and users’ feeds would contain fewer posts from friends and family. In an effort to encourage users to share more content from the “Discovery Engine,” the plan would also bring Messenger’s inbox back into the Facebook app.
As part of the changes, Facebook will place a greater emphasis on Reels, return Messenger to the main app (after nearly eight years as a separate app), and recommend posts from any source rather than posts from people users follow.
Nonetheless, Alison’s memo emphasizes how critical the new priorities are for the company, which is desperately trying to catch up to TikTok.
Meta is developing AI-based recommendation systems that will attract new (and likely younger) users to the platform while keeping existing users engaged. It remains to be seen whether or not this strategy will be successful.