The end of social networks is nearing the changes in Facebook - Cultura Digital - Estadão

The end of social networks is nearing the changes in Facebook – Cultura Digital – Estadão

Perhaps social media as we know it today is coming to an end — or almost. Your friends’ posts will still exist and so will yours. But the model that created Facebook appears to be in decline because of TikTok. In other words, in the new world, platforms focus more on “bombs” content and less on their social connections.

Signs of change are everywhere. “Feeding goes from being guided by the people and accounts you follow to being guided by recommended content by artificial intelligence (AI), even if you don’t follow the creators who posted the content,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s president. to investors last month.

Before him, Blake Chandley, global head of business solutions at TikTok, described how he saw his competitor. “Facebook is a social platform. They build their algorithms based on social connections. We are an entertainment platform,” he told the channel. “The difference is huge,” he told the channel. CNBC.

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It’s a distance Zuckerberg intends to shorten, becoming more like his Chinese rival. At the same meeting, the founder of the social network said that about 15% of the content on Facebook is suggested and viewed by AI and does not depend on who you follow – the percentage is slightly higher on Instagram. For the next year, the CEO’s goal is to hit the 30% mark on both services. This should put into the feed, essentially, short videos posted by strangers, which are the mainstay of the TikTok model.

Part of this movement can already be seen. Last year, Instagram added Reels (its own short video tool) to the feed and started recommending this content among family and friends’ posts. This year, the insistence on video recommendations caused criticism from users of the app.

Facebook spread on social media in the first decade of the twenty-first century take photo: Photograph: Dadu Rovich/Reuters

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Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, retracted the changes, but indicated that he had not abandoned their implementation. to the site Curriculumhe said, “We need to take a big step back and rearrange. When we have learned enough, we come back with some new ideas.”

Whatever the new onslaught, it seems that the social component has been left behind. “The need for social media – and its more traditional meaning – is less than it was 10 years ago. With the devices we have, we have found other ways to connect with our friends that don’t necessarily require a dedicated platform.” stadium Matt Navarra, British social media consultant. “Networking with friends and family is losing value and social media use is changing.”

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It is a paradigm shift that spanned decades. The idea of ​​groups of people meeting online around common interests was first described in 1993 by the American academic Howard Rheingold, who coined the term “virtual community”. In 2003, Friendster borrowed some of Rheingold’s concepts to officially usher in the age of social media.

In subsequent years, a series of services that bet on connections between people emerged as the driving force behind online content. Brazilians, for example, fell in love with Orkut in 2004. In the same year, Zuckerberg created Facebook within Harvard University. The premise of the services was to bring together people from the same social circles and allow the sharing of interests.

However, Zuckerberg was better than understanding the power of content mediated by relatives and friends. In 2006, he launched Feed, which not only allowed people to connect, but also share posts – three years later, Facebook added a Like button, which gave a sense of the popularity of what was posted. The format became standard and became the definition of a social network, which affected services such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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It was so successful that, over the next decade, Facebook struggled to maintain coordination. In 2016, the company began prioritizing the dissemination of knowledge in Feed over Pages, including press vehicles. In 2018, there was a new effort of this kind. At the time, the success was well worth the effort, even if there were serious problems – Facebook documents revealed that this type of distribution only intensified the shouting.

However, something was about to change.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, had to back out of some changes to the platform after criticism from users
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has been forced to roll back some changes to the platform after criticism from users take photo: Photograph: Beck Dieffenbach/Reuters

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Launched in 2018, TikTok shrugged off the idea of ​​connecting with acquaintances from the start. The company, which calls its app an entertainment platform (rather than a social network), has focused on content creators and smart editing tools. The effect was immediate.

YouTube, which has boosted itself with long videos, had to take a look at short productions and short film releases in 2020. However, the effect was almost nil for a simple reason: The secret behind TikTok was in its distribution and recommendation algorithm, which prioritizes user entertainment above all else. something.

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For Edney Souza, Professor at ESPM, we are in a transition to a time when platforms will be more committed to being an eternally connected “TV” than the environment of people in our daily lives. “We have exited the age of social media and entered the age of social media,” he says.

says Carlos Afonso Souza, Director of the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro (ITS-River).

The transformation means that we have moved from the age of communications to the age of algorithms. “There has been a change in the way people use social media over the past two years, as well as a change in people’s needs and expectations of social media in general. Major media platforms must now adapt to this new era,” Navarra explains.

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In terms of numbers, the need for changes from giants like Facebook is clear. In February, the platform recorded a decline in the number of users for the first time in history: the social network lost about 500,000 daily users globally in the last three months of last year. And the company recorded last July the first decline in revenue since its founding: $ 28.8 billion in the quarter ending last June, compared to $ 29 billion in the same period in 2021.

However, according to a US ranking published by social media analyst SensorTower, Facebook has fallen among the 10 most downloaded apps on Apple’s iOS operating system 97 times – in 2022 alone. By comparison, this only happened seven times. times in the past year.

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If numbers are the only thing that matters, it looks like social media is really over. But there are those who see the changes from a more optimistic perspective. “I think Instagram’s move towards TikTok is not a sign of weak networks, but rather a sign of strengthening them,” Souza says.

He claims that platform models are not static and that changes are part of evolution. Instagram itself began shifting its focus away from social media, when it gave rise to influencer culture. Suddenly, people started tracking strangers.

And for those who miss social connection as a medium of content, there are still services that do – Instagram itself allows access to a tab with only your contacts. Not to mention services like LinkedIn, which focuses on professional social connections, and BeReal, a French network that allows users to post just one photo per day to their friends.

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“Maybe social contact will become a niche feature for now. But who knows, this might not come back into fashion in the future?” says Souza.

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