Yahoo was once the most popular website on the planet, and the one place everyone on the internet seems to have touched at least once in an online session. After a shameful slip, Yahoo is just another site that has some fans in certain parts of Asia and offers some niche products.
Did Mark Zuckerberg launch Facebook down a similar path?
This is the big question that investors need to start asking in the name of Meta Platforms Inc. META,
The CEO is seeking to change his strategy amid clear signs of distress. After its first-ever drop in users three months ago, Facebook reported its first quarterly revenue drop in history on Wednesday, Zuckerberg’s answer was to imitate a rival and send the company into the dangerous waters that nearly killed the platform already and took American democracy with it. .
Zuckerberg is changing the company’s core apps to become more reliant on artificial intelligence to drive the content users see, in an effort to emulate growing Chinese competitor TikTok — a major shift to give the algorithm more power over what people see on Facebook and Instagram. Zuckerberg told analysts on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that Meta apps will rely more on its discovery engine, rather than the people or things you follow, for content. This means that users will see (and actually watch) content from complete strangers in their feeds and videos, just like TikTok.
“Currently, our AI recommends about 15% of the content in a person’s Facebook feed, and a little more of their Instagram feed content, from people, groups, or accounts you don’t follow,” Zuckerberg said. “We expect these numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”
Facebook has been fortunate to have survived a series of scandals in recent years, from allowing disinformation about elections to spread to selling private user data to helping spread the incitement to violence that led to the storming of the US Capitol. However, clearly nothing has been learned, because the company, or at least its algorithm, will now decide what content the stranger will see.
Facebook and the world have already learned that bad actors will learn how to manipulate this algorithm, resulting in incendiary posts or videos, and divisive content that will pit strangers against strangers, on a more frightening scale than there is today. If we’re lucky, the result will be that users who still have Facebook will decide it’s time to leave for other online destinations, as Yahoo fans once did.
While the algorithm takes more responsibility on Facebook and Instagram – the content management aspect of both social media sites is mostly handled by AI, Zuckerberg said in response to a question on the call, explaining just how incapable Facebook’s technology is. In his goals – Zuckerberg will spend his human capital on his huge dream of “Metaverse”. Zuckerberg’s grand vision is to create a digital world inhabited by those who want to escape from the real world of grass, flowers, air, sky, animals and humans by wearing a high-heeled headset so you can hang out with your friends in a digital nightclub or meeting room. or anywhere else you want.
Virtual reality has only proven to be popular among a small segment of the population, and is still very difficult to adopt by the average consumer, something that Yahoo founder Jerry Yang has already learned. So instead, all those parents, grandparents on Facebook, and old people that Zuckerberg no longer cares about, will be cared for by bots, while his followers focus on a new world: the uncomfortable, potentially dystopian future.
Facebook and Instagram have had massive growth because they have attracted the masses, not just the advanced or technical users who develop these products. If the Meta loses these users, its apps will continue its current downward spiral—digital advertising downturn, stagnation or not—in much the same way Yahoo failed to make the transition to mobile, with a complex site and services that it couldn’t easily adapt even if it tried to mimic Younger competitors, just as Facebook does now.
Zuckerberg is a dead king, with complete corporate control, so what he’s saying is the law of the land – the power that Yang wasn’t and the parade of CEOs who took over Yahoo when he wasn’t in charge. No one will stop Zuckerberg from this bet on an algorithm-led future, so investors need to decide if they want to risk having nothing ahead of him but a downward spiral of the same fate that Silicon Valley has already experienced from the once-famous web portal.