Facebook wasn’t the first social media platform to arrive on the market. It certainly wasn’t the last either. However, it is the most popular social media platform today and has revolutionized how the common person uses the internet. Mark Zuckerberg has held the throne with Facebook for a really long time. However, recent events suggest that the future of Facebook looks bleak. Several controversies have arisen over the last few years, with the most recent one leading to the boycott of Facebook advertisement by big brands. Will Facebook even be relevant in 10 years? Will it exist?
User Experience and Growth
Facebook’s overall growth is declining in the US. a recent report stated that the social network may be losing millions of users. These users are of the age group from 12 to 34 years old. Amidst the controversies, Facebook has failed to regulate its platform efficiently. There is a lot of clutter there, in-stream videos are unskippable, and the rampant changes in layout, have affected the user experience greatly.
When Facebook launched, it attracted a myriad of people because it enabled them to create and maintain connections between the people. Things changed when Facebook switched to the algorithm-based news feed from the normal reverse-chronological timeline. The desire to monetize the user-base took over the company to the point that the feed became all about ads, and brought no real value at all.
The problem with Facebook is that it continues to trust the algorithm more than its own users. As a result, millions of people see Facebook as a waste of time, and millions of people understand that, reacting by logging in as infrequently as possible. This number is only likely to grow in the upcoming years.
Facebook has a terrible reputation of respecting user privacy. It has caused real human damage, and consequently mistrust has grown. After years of scandals and a particularly bumpy 2018, Facebook is increasingly synonymous with data breaches, fake news, propaganda, a wanton disregard for privacy, creepy ad-tracking practices, and generally not being a comfortable space to hang out online.
The infamous Cambridge Analytica story started the privacy concerns. Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, gained access to information on 50 million Facebook users as a way to identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.
As a result, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress in the wake of this scandal. The public was outraged knowing that their private information had been so easily accessible. Facebook lost the trust it had build with its users over the years.
Spread of misinformation
The News Feed has been critical to Facebook: it’s where people get updates on friends and where most of the company’s advertising revenue comes from. However, it is also responsible for most of Facebook’s problems. It’s where misinformation exists and spreads, and what has affected the future of Facebook.
Zuckerberg has made big promises about the future of Facebook before. He hasn’t really lived up to them. Five years ago, he was talking about building next-generation computing platforms with virtual reality, something that is still in the works, but with a distinctly smaller vision around it. Privacy features, too, are something Facebook has moved extremely slowly on.
“Stop Hate for Profit”
Facebook came under the spotlight once again, after major companies decided to boycott its ad services due to their history with election campaigns, and their inability to tackle hate speech on the platform.
As more and more companies joined hands, outrage against the world’s largest social network has grown into a movement that threatens its bottom line. Facebook makes nearly all of its money from ads, raking in more than $70 billion in revenue last year.
Facebook is dying
It really is, however, I do believe that it can be saved. Facebook no longer holds the same charm it used to. Facebook used to be a good place to find out what your friends were up to, to see their photos, and to read funny and interesting things. Now, it’s full of clickbait, highly partisan and misleading articles, and a myriad of fake profiles.
This is backed by data. Facebook is the #3 most regretted app, after Candy Crush and Grindr, with 64% of users regretting the time they spent on it. Facebook’s user base growth in the US and Europe has completely stopped. The average time spent on Facebook by each user is down 13%. Implementing a successful rebranding strategy could be crucial for Facebook at this juncture. Such a strategy would need to address the current issues head-on, re-establishing the platform as a trustworthy and engaging space for users, and potentially reversing the negative trends in user perception and engagement.
Facebook might die, however, it will survive at the same time. How? Well, when I say it will die I mean the platform. Facebook as a company will continue to exist and perhaps see even more success. This is majorly due to the fact that Facebook has acquired most of its competitors. And that I believe, safeguards the future of Facebook.
What do you think? Do you believe the social media giant will survive? Or will it be forgotten in 10 years? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, if you are interested in guest posting at PACE Business, drop us an email.