It has become fashionable among Facebook critics to emphasize the company’s size and dominance while countering its mistakes. During a Senate hearing on Thursday, lawmakers brought Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety, to question the company’s addictive product design and its influence. for billions of users. Many of the questions for Ms. Davis were hostile, but as with most Big Tech hearings, there was a strange sort of difference in the air, as if lawmakers were asking: Hey, Godzilla, could you please stop stepping on Tokyo?
But if these leaked documents prove anything, it’s that Facebook doesn’t feel like Godzilla. Internally, the company worries that they are losing power and influence, not winning it, and their own research shows that many of their products don’t thrive organically. Instead, it will increasingly lengthen to improve its malicious image and prevent users from abandoning its applications in favor of more appealing alternatives.
You can see this vulnerability displayed in part of a magazine series that was updated last week. The article, citing internal Facebook research, revealed that the company has strategized on how to market itself to children, considering babies as “an untapped but valuable audience.” The article had plenty of fodder for outrage, including a presentation in which Facebook researchers asked if there was “a way to leverage playing discs to promote handover/development.” children’s?”
It’s a crazy-sounding question, but it’s also revealing. Does a confident, thriving social media app need to “play the game” or build elaborate growth strategies aimed at 10-year-olds? If Facebook can’t be so unstoppable, is it really promoting itself to young people as – and read this in the voice of Steve Buscemi “How are you, little ones?” meme – a “Life coach to mentor?”
The truth is that Facebook’s appetite for young users is not about capturing a new market but more about preventing irrelevance. Teen Facebook use in the United States has been declining for years, and is expected to fall even further soon — internal researchers predict that daily use will drop by 45% by 2023. The researchers also revealed that Instagram, whose growth offsets a multi-year decline in interest in Facebook’s core app, is losing market share to faster-growing competitors like TikTok and younger users. age doesn’t post as much content as it used to.