Peak Facebook?

Facebook lost users for the first time ever as there were 500,000 fewer active users in Q4 of 2021. Young people have been leaving Facebook for a long time and TikTok’s popularity is sucking away attention from Facebook.

If Facebook becomes permanently uncool, then it could eventually head towards the decline of MySpace and Friendster. Facebook is much larger than those companies ever were and has stayed dominant for longer and has actual profits. Teenage users of Facebook in the US has declined by 13 percent since 2019 and have been projected to drop 45 percent over the next two years. Facebook will lose 1.5 million teen users between 2020 and 2025. Facebook’s decline among consumers ages 12 to 17 will continue, and just 35.3% of internet users in that age group will use the platform in 2022. In 2024, that figure will drop to under one-third.

Facebook is pushing its TikTok copy Reels and is spending heavily on the Metaverse which is 3D virtual reality. The sharper decline in teen users and flattening usage from other users means Facebook is making defensive moves and fighting from weakening positions. Tencent and others are also competing for the Metaverse.

Facebook has the data to know how much of threat TikTok poses to them. However, unlike Whatsapp or Instagram, Facebook could not buy TikTok. Tiktok is a Chinese company. TikTok recently passed Snapchat and Pinterest to become the Third Largest Platform. Facebook and Instagram are still ahead but the gap is closing.

Here are some quotes from the Facebook earnings call:

People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term, as is our work to make sure that our apps are the best services out there for young adults, which I spoke about on our last call. The second area, and related to this, is that we’re in the middle of a transition on our own services toward short-form video like Reels. So as more activity shifts toward this medium, we’re replacing some time in News Feed and other higher monetizing surfaces.

So as the engagement of the new thing starts to replace some of the engagement in the old thing, it creates a near-term headwind for revenue, but it’s not — that part is — at this point, now, is not that big of a concern for us. I mean, it makes some of the stuff, you know, not as clear in the near term, but over the long term, we’re pretty optimistic about that. The dynamic that I think is actually a little bit different with Reels than what we’ve seen with Stories and mobile feed in the past is with Reels, I would say that the teams are executing quite well and the product is growing very, very quickly. The thing that is somewhat unique here is that TikTok is so big as a competitor already and also continues to grow at quite a faster rate off of a very large base.

Mark Zuckerberg — Chief Executive Officer

I can take the Reels question. So we do see a huge amount of potential ahead. But, you know, I think sometimes when we say that there’s — you know, that we’re closer at the beginning, what that means is that we still have a lot of kind of fundamental questions to overcome in order to make progress to get where we’re going. With this product, what we see is, there is very clear product-market fit, and it is growing incredibly quickly.

It — you know, we face a competitor in TikTok that is a lot bigger, so it will take a while to compound and catch up there. But fundamentally, you know, we think that there’s a lot of potential for it to continue growing. So to your question, do we have the content that we need, you know, it’s a flywheel. So the better tools that we can build for creators and the better monetization we can offer them, which tends to be an advantage that we have over other competitors is how effective our monetization and ad systems are, then I mean the bigger it gets, the more it will attract more creators, and it will kind of build on itself.

SOURCES -Emarketing, Facebook Q4 2021 earnings call
Written By Brian Wang,

21 thoughts on “Peak Facebook?”

  1. Not as effective.

    As we've seen multiple times before, networks CAN collapse if there is a better option.

    eg. Myspace, Friendster, Napster, Webcrawler, Altavista

    The network effect that increases value so strongly as the network is growing, also means that value drops very quickly if the network starts to shrink.

    The thing about the internet is that you don't have to give up the old network, you can just flex your finger and switch to the new one. You can use both systems for a while, while one grows and the other shrinks. So the lock in effect is small.

  2. It used to be said about governments that they seek to "find out what the people are doing, and stop them".

    But those were governments. Sort of entrenched in their positions.

    If you are an entity where the people can swap to an alternative with literally a flex of their fingers, this doesn't seem to make sense.

  3. I believe almost no one sees my FB posts any more. Excessive truth telling is an awful thing.

    A friend of mine recently started telling me to apply for some "government grant" on FB. Sure enough, some crook stole his account.

  4. They're starting to spike that now, though, by getting really oppressive about what you can and can't sell. I'm still a member of a small scale farming group, (I keep chickens.) and if you so much as hint that an animal is for sale, down comes the hammer.

    Like buying and selling animals is some aberrant activity. Of course, that's not the only class of perfectly legal products they won't let you transact in. And the list keeps growing.

  5. Meta has also threatened the EU with shutting down Facebook if they are no longer allowed to extract data on europeans and send it to the US for spying purposes. That's a really dumb threat; most people I have talked to say something along the lines of "don't threaten me with a good time".

  6. I believe I'm with you up until this sentence:

    "But the radical oppenes is a direct consequence of the non-wholeness from the heart of our commos, rendering it subject to internal contradictions and historical contingencies."

    I don't understand what you are trying to say there.. Could you restate the thoughts of that sentence more clearly?

  7. Kids can’t be on the same platform as their parents, and still grow up

    And Facebook has shifted from connecting people to making money. So many adds, so much profiling and scheming.

    I only log on to keep up to date with my aging friends, and I’m not even sure it does that right

  8. Of the people I know who have a facebook account, ALL of them have it because of facebook marketplace, which has taken a significant marketshare from places like ebay and gumtree and so if you are in a particular buying and selling market, you miss out on a lot without a facebook account.

  9. What this story renders it's nothing but the radical openess of our commons of social interaction and communication. It's really nothing special about Facebook, nor Microsoft, it just happened that they were there, in the position to seize these spaces. Once an user interface gains the slightest advantage over others, for whatever, random, unimportant reason, it will tend towards unicity due to the inherent universality that characterizes our space of commons, the so called "network effect". But the radical oppenes is a direct consequence of the non-wholeness from the heart of our commos, rendering it subject to internal contradictions and historical contingencies. This is the reason why teens find Facebook un-cool and TikTok rather cool. So, challangers are already present.

  10. Heck, I was like that in my teens. Didn't even bother keeping an expression on my face all the time, really freaked out my parents at times. Why should your face show emotions even when you weren't feeling any, I figured.

    I didn't have the sort of money where I I could afford to be scaring people like that, so I learned to simulate having normal feelings all the time, and eventually the mask becomes your real face.

    Zuckerberg became wealthy young enough he never had to fix that problem.

  11. As well as the many sites that use facebook commenting, which you can't use without a facebook account. I have to think that's been keeping the numbers up somewhat, when people stop using that you'll know that freefall isn't far behind.

  12. Zuckerberg didn't turn himself into anything.

    He just made himself more visible and began to feel it unnecessary to even pretend to act like a normal person – hence the 'less human than a robot' persona he seems to show in every interview

    I don't doubt that many people are like this in the world – he's just the first to get a huge public audience due to modern technology.

  13. There is no "if." Facebook IS uncool.

    The question is whether enough people will tolerate it because it is the easiest way to like pictures of other people's children – doing the minimum work necessary to maintain social connection.

    Also, any analysis of Meta has to include their other functions. In some markets, Facebook Pay has significant adoption.

  14. There are many beginnings here, I trace the first one to the invention of writing. I mean, it is all needed, till it is over used.

  15. To me, the big evil you see took off with the invention of language that included *when and where* beyond *here and now*. We could then get lost in these descriptions. Social media is an extension of the addiction to words rather than experiencing reality.

  16. Zuckerberg should have asked Tom how he read MySpace's demise in the tea leaves. Real "Ice berg, right ahead!" moment for Facebook. A few years ago I never wpukdbe expected something like this. Though, in the back of my mind, I knew the Facebook ship would eventually begin sinking.

  17. The social media world is built on trends, the writing should have been on the wall for facebook. Facebook tried to counter that by buying other companies. It could not continue after there was a backlash from free market advocates against that and platforms from other countries started rising. In general, social media is destined to turn to evil in every cycle as these platforms fall into the trap of over replacing physical face to face contact with the benefits it has to human beings with virtual contact. No need to accuse Zuckerberg in particular, he just tried to ride as far possible with the tool that he created, the price was that he turned it and himself into a monster.

    Watch the following from 12:20

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