wave 1: the addition of everybody outside your immediate friends and close family. You get the goofy uncle, the distant high school acquaintances, and all the work acquaintances from every previous job that submitted a "friend request" that you didn't reject out of politeness. The newsfeed gets polluted by nonsense such as forwarded memes, politics, and other junk.
wave 2: the corporate advertisers filling up the newsfeed that crowds out the desirable posts from your real friends & family.
The 2004 to 2008 period was probably the "magical" time for Facebook from a user standpoint. The initial wave of Harvard students had a beautiful user experience with TheFacebook. As for the new members joining Facebook today in 2018?!? Not so much.
Of course, ads are needed to pay for the datacenters so any social network like Facebook inevitably decays into a worthless waste of time.
Facebook does provide tools to segment one's friends into groups to whom content can be privately posted, but from a UX perspective they're deemphasized. I see a lot more social conversations moving to group chats (some on Facebook Messenger, some on GroupMe/WhatsApp and the like), because membership is determinate, you make the choice of target audience before being prompted to make a post, and the context into which you post is not a newsfeed (which we've been trained to think is global to an entire circle of friends) but just that specific chat history. (I'm sure there's some psychology/UX research in that people don't intuit that a "posting destination" can be distinct from the list of content you're viewing.)
Chats are just a "safer space" to be oneself. And if Facebook wants to capture one's true self and preferences, it will need to evolve beyond the idea that a single newsfeed is the place people want to do that.
I severely miss when it was just a place to chat up a cute girl you seen in college, or find out who's going to see NIN, etc.
It is completely silly that you have to jump through these hoops, though, assuming it’s even still an option.
Btw, hiding something from your timeline has absolutely no effect on whether it appears in friends’ feeds or not. It’s purely about whether people can see if it they go to your timeline. Which is pretty unintuitive and anti-user: if I don’t want something in my timeline, why would I want it showing up in people’s news feeds?
Sometimes it's fun to hear what she thinks about the discussions I join. At the same time, feels as if Facebook is in this case a surveillance tool. I know there are other people I'm connected with, who I don't really know who they are and also don't have many other friends at Facebook. Those mostly-strangers-to-me are probably also being sent notifications about everything I do.
Just because data is public doesn’t mean that companies can’t be criticized for exposing it in the most annoying ways possible.
Not to beat this hackneyed drum to death, but: it’s because you’re not the consumer—you’re the product. They have armies of data scientists optimising their holy interaction metrics to death. They are incentivised to wage a holy war for your eyeballs, and wage a war they will. Every last base point is priceless at their scale.
Every single pixel, every possible user story, everything down to the very last detail is optimised for user interaction.
If you ever find yourself wondering why they missed something: they didn’t. It’s intentional.
The intentional things they do tomorrow will be different and may address issues like users becoming apprehensive about interacting when it's not clear who will get an e-mail saying "Psst... Hey... We thought you should judge what User has been up to..."
(Not to imply you should immediately add newly-former coworkers).
So if someone asks, Can you add me on FB? Would you reply?: No, I have a no current coworkers policy. Is there a way to do this without hurting people's feelings?
> Are you on Facebook? Is this your profile?
> Yes, but I'm not gonna accept your friend request.
The reply was usually a bit snarky with a bit of a chuckle, and that did it for most college-aged people. The few times someone persisted, I explained that Facebook is an aspect of my social life, not my professional life, and I intended to keep it that way.
I also frequently go through the list of my friends and remove everyone I haven't spoken to in a while, keeping my friends well below 100.
I know I've definitely experienced a bit of a 'chilling effect' on the stuff I post since adding a few former colleagues. Tech is a small town and you never know who you'll be working with next year.
Someone who is your coworker and then becomes your friend is likely not really your friend in any real sense, unless-and-until you leave that job and they bother to remain in contact with you.
It's not a question of following some flowchart; it's a question of whether a given person values your relationship with them more, or values how they could get ahead using the information they've learned about you more. This fact is generally illegible for current coworkers, but mostly resolves out once you leave that job—the people who valued you personally keep in touch.
This fact is also generally legible for people who you meet outside of work: people mostly don't bother to get to know you unless they [expect to] value you personally. (Or they're conducting some form of long-term industrial espionage. I don't envy the people important enough to worry about this.)
As https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/metcalfes-law-i... makes clear, multiple lines of evidence suggests that the total possible value out of a social network scales like O(n log(n)). (Yes, I am biased as one of the authors. But what shocked me was how many independent lines of argument the other authors came up with for the same conclusion!) As the experience of Facebook goes down, it takes less and less work for a competitor to make up the O(log(n)) first mover advantage.
I would therefore not bet on Facebook lasting over the long haul...
My view is that networks also see an unavoidable per-node cost function, and that this ultimately defines network size. (You can work the relationship backwards to find the actual value.) I've suggested this to Odlyzko. He's not yet invited me to co-author a paper.
Facebook has not decayed because of an influx of new users beginning with this "eternal september", but because of the pointed decisions by its leadership to choose greed over respect for its users. The paramount decision is the decision to go public, necessitating indefinite growth at any cost in order to satisfy investors. It must have been obvious to Facebook's early employees that a Facebook at the behest of investors would increasingly dilute the user experience, and yet only now do they lament what they created.
It starts with people like us, in tech, running our own services and connecting with friends or even strangers in our field and growing out from there.
I don't think any one big thing can (or should) replace Facebook. The future of the Internet needs to be diverse and distributed. People need to learn about RSS feeds again and posting their content to a variety of services or hosting it themselves (if they know how).
1) Go to the site, click Join Us.
2) Get shuttled down the page to a wall of text. Click Sign Up since I don't want to read the text, and I see a green button.
3) See a list of "pods" - looks like a chatroom? I click the "Confused" button which auto-sends you to a pod.
4) See a bunch of text in German.
5) Press back.
6) Click the pod at the top of the list that says "US".
7) Get a 500 error.
8) Close tab.
I love the idea here, but I hate to say that it is poorly executed so far.
I think someone could recreate early FB on the blockchain and take a huge chunk of interesting people off of the two current awful choices. Because I do remember the time when it was fun to reconnect with people and follow their lives there.
wtf does this mean?
I'm asking only because this sounds exactly as loaded and buzzwordy as "I lost control of my feed to arbitrary ML algorithms attempting to maximize shareholder value whilst alienating the fewest users" you've just gone the opposite direction with the hyperbole.
I also have no idea why this is such an obviously great idea. I don't see anything obviously great about it. Care to explain.
And are you really saying in 2018 that ML is just a buzzword?
Because what I see is an algorithm (whatever it is, probably some secret sauce ML goulash of topic models or clustering) picking stuff I don't want to see and burying stuff I do. Just give me the pure feed and the ability to follow/unfollow. This is apparently now hard(tm).
It wouldn't need to be expensive either to keep the servers running. There would be no flashy advertising displaying links that you would never click anyway and there be no sneaky algorithms trying to maximize your clicks or your attention since that would no longer contribute to the company results.
Everything would be far simpler. Getting there is less simple.
on the blockchain
Compare and contrast with AMZN where the customer is indeed the customer.
Shysters gotta shyst. After all, somebody has to buy those heavy bags...
wave 3: bots
Years ago, I'd be more open to making "Instagram friends". However nowadays when I get a few likes, I go to the user's profile and see that their followers/following ratio is skewed, I know they're fishing for followers with a bot.
Ultimately all interactions on social media will be scripted by bots.
"Oh let me show you this picture that you missed 4 days ago when we where showing you pictures that are 8 days old."
It didn't take me long at all to realise that the vast majority of new followers were either just straight up spambots, or were using bots to fish for followers.
Botting to fish for followers in Insta isn't the worst, usually it's just automating what a person would do: search for a hashtag; like photos; and drop some comments. But it really kills engagement when most comments are something like "Nice! :thumbs:", or "Love this! :heart:", and you know that 90% of accounts that follow you will automatically unfollow you in a week.
Instagrams social discovery aspect has been ruined. It has been taken over by bots and groups of people on whatsapp/$messaging_service that schedule when to post and all like the photo the moment it gets posted to boost it to the discover page. It has become all about gaming the algorithm.
Then the brain-bender: What if you are that bot?
I also do a soft sort of "if I haven't talked to you in three months" rule to get rid of stale contacts. It's not LinkedIn, I don't need people for future reference. If I haven't talked to them in three months and they aren't someone incredibly important to me, they're gone.
I agree Facebook is awful and they're making it worse every day, but a lot of the problems people have with it are self-made. I don't get people posting awful political opinions because I don't follow anyone who does that. I don't get spammed with memes because I don't follow anyone who does that. I don't see most of the ads because I have an ad blocker. I don't see people I don't know because I unfriend them. I don't see businesses I don't care about because I don't follow businesses I don't care about.
The only problem I have with Facebook as a consumer of Facebook is not seeing things from people I want to see things from. But I rarely see things I don't want to see, because Facebook gives you all the tools you need to stop seeing that kind of stuff.
Look at it this way:
What do I want to see?
Friend's image/text > Group image/text > Pages I like image/text > Friends of Friends image/text > Memes > Ads.
What does FB want me to see?
Ads > Doesn't matter.
So what do they do?
Ads > Memes > Friends of Friends image/video Pages/Group Image/Video > Friends Image/Video ------------------> Text.
Why? What financial incentive do they have to show me Memes over what I want to see?
Ads > Friend's image/text > Group image/text > Pages I like image/text > Friends of Friends image/text > Memes
Then you'll go through a few and then leave the site.
Ads > Friend's image/text > Group image/text > Leave FB
They optimize how much time you spend on FB, so they can show you more ads. Thus, it makes sense to stick the stuff you really care about at the end. To make it hard to find. Because, then instead of coming to the site and getting what you want, you'll spend an hour trying to dig through the crap to find what you want.
More "engagement" is more ads. Nobody at facebook through about whether it makes sense to measure "engagement" alone, or to try and measure some form of "valuable engagement", or "useful engagement".
Because you scroll and scroll and scroll through the feed looking for something you actually wanted to see, and all that extra time spent is "engagement".
I wholeheartedly agree with you that Facebook lost it's user focus.
I've found that regular pruning keeps my utility on Facebook very high. I only really have to visit it once a week (as my newsfeed doesn't stream all that fast with only ~50 friends) and it's highly relevant. Apart from the constant nags to friend people that I don't know, that is - Facebook seems to take issue with my succinct friends list.
> forwarded memes
People who I give a damn about are posting to my timelines, so even the memes are mostly enjoyable. If they aren't, there is usually something enjoyable soon after precisely because my timeline moves so slowly: the signal to noise ratio is pretty good.
The downfall of Facebook is in limited ways PEBCAK. Facebook encourages degenerate use of the platform, but you don't have to fall for it.
Social networks come and go in waves. Some stay longer, some fizzle out quicker.
Owning the biggest alternatives to your own network is a brilliant move. If Whatsapp or Insta kills Facebook, so be it. As long as no one else does ;)
No, it doesn't require that. There are secure options. The main thing that keeps the current unsecure options in play is momentum, i.e. if not enough people care, nothing will get better.
I can see a connection between the eternal september and insiders/outsiders, but it sounds like you're getting at something specific and I'm curious.
Wave 4: still too annoying, deletes Facebook account altogether.
I did, however, unfollow around 500 people or so, which shrunk my feed to only a small number of people whose opinion I actually care to read. FB really should make the unfollow option more obvious, because it largely solves the feed noise issue.
Mostly though, FB is boring and depressing, and eventually even the easily swayed figure that out.
Made a bunch of random friends around the world and picked up a few college girls as well. :'-) Good times!
I thought everyone quit after the newsfeed in 2006? Then when grandma could get an account a couple years later.
I have a few a"friends" that post horrible stuff. Conspiracy theories, rants, and other posts that are just symptoms of poor mental health.
At first I stopped to read these in HORROR and disgust, because they stood out so much from the rest of my feed. Facebook takes that as a signal that this is the content I enjoy, and begins to feature it more and more heavily.
Looking back, if I had understood what was happening, I could have used Facebook correctly and worked WITH the algorithm. You have to think about the long term consequences of your viewing activity, and think of using your attention like farming to grow a good feed.
Facebook eventually needs to introduce a self-curation tool, so that people can promote the things/people they want, and remove the elements they dislike without Unfriending Grandma. For me it's probably to late. At 34 the college friends that I would like to keep up with haven't interacted with me in 5+ years, and the social awkwardness of rekindling those relationships isn't worth it.
On an unrelated note, I think many social networks will continue to die this way. As people move from PEAK FRIENDS in colleges to having lives where immediate family takes priority, I think the social presence will fade. The networks will take the blame, like MYSPACE, and FRIENDSHIP just are not good tools anymore, when really it was the person who went from having 100+ active relationships to 20.
You know how Facebook tries to get me engaged? It puts photos of my ex-girlfriend and her friends on the top of my feed. Sure you're going to get me to look, but I'm not going to leave the website feeling as good as when I logged on. You bring up a good point about how you have to think about the long term consequences of your viewing, but then I feel that you don't get a genuine experience when you use the platform, and if Facebook wants this, they seem to really over-estimate users' mindfulness wrt what they're actually doing.
If Facebook never figures things out, I hope whatever network comes next doesn't get greedy like they did. In particular, they need to focus on driving engagement with positive interactions and content.
IMHO Facebook gave the golden goose (algo) enough feed to gorge itself on and now it is unhealthy and only lays rusty iron eggs.
Yes, they optimized for engagement, and it destroyed the platform. This is like a parable or something. Truly.
In business school 10 years from now I fully expect people to write case studies on the business effects of algo optimization and local minima, etc, etc...
From their end, their metric was perfect.
I wholly disagree. You used Facebook correctly. It's Facebook's fault for poorly interpreting how you used it. Anyone who's ever been stuck in traffic behind rubberneckers creeping past an accident should understand that bursts of attention don't at all mean that you have long term interest in something.
> Facebook eventually needs to introduce a self-curation tool, so that people can promote the things/people they want
A million times this. Facebook desperately needs matched like and dislike buttons, not for the purposes of voting content up or down, but so that it can learn what you actually want to see. Most music services grok this concept.
Facebook was really useful for keeping up with life events. I could stay connected and updated even with more distant friends and relatives. As soon as the algorithm "knew best" what I looked at I no longer got the occasional, but wanted, updates from those more distant. I would see what FB told me was popular - and some would play to that popularity. It would downplay to the point of censorship updates from someone if I didn't interact enough - whatever "enough" was. The feed is now almost completely beyond my control - no matter how I try to mess with groups and liking random posts to stop people being forgotten.
Once when you got a message and weren't around it would mail you the message. Now you get "Fred sent you a message log in to messenger to see it".
Now it's worse than useless for the reason I signed up in the first place.
Worse because, like a needy ex, it keeps pleading and whining for me to come back by email. I log in maybe 2-4x a year to organise with the few people that still prefer it as main point of contact.
While the annoying emails still get send, you are at least no longer bothered with it in your day to day email use. Not ideal, but slightly better.
Of course you can also use email filtering rules, but seperating it physically makes it more likely you do not burn time on it by accident.
What I find funny is that probably according to FB your "engagement" increased with that change. Beforehand, you would check the feed, and then hit something that you already saw and then stop: you saw everything that there was to see.
After the change instead, you found yourself seeing again and again the same content, and you would keep scrolling that feed hoping to see something new.
Instead of 5 minutes it takes you 10 (and you still are not sure you saw everything you wanted), you're spending double time on FB, big win ! Who cares if the "productivity" (as in total enjoyment / time spent) decreased , more time = more ads = more money.
Lather, rinse, repeat, until the garbage is so much that one stop using it and the "engagement" drops completely.
Instagram works better for getting a feel for your friends, especially with the temporary "snaps" people post and actually fun creative overlays.
I have friends scattered all over the world. Through Insta stories I can keep up with what they're doing and feel closer to them. All my friends have stopped posting on Facebook except for life events. Now everything is on Snapchat or Instagram stories.
As it stands, I only "follow" brands/pages as sources of news (predominantly non-political) and Facebook is actually moderately useful in that way. My news feed is now just topics I'm interested in and I cut out the friend-filtering algorithm portion, which makes Facebook a lot more pleasant to use. The onus is more on me to follow up with friends on what they've been up to and I'll probably lose touch with some along the way. However, it feels more genuine when I can talk about those things on a more personal level a few weeks/months after the event is posted online and I'm not just contributing another comment/like on a post.
Both websites became unbearingly bad after they updated their feed algorithm. To this day, this remains for me the quintessential case of bad product thinking meets over-engineering.
In those early days people were still used to web pages being static lifeless documents. It was magical to be able to interact with it.
It was some time after and in the middle of the Web 2.0 hype and the rush for "web based everything".
Now people have app and internet fatigue. It has become a chore.
I've setup Raspberry Pi's that sync photos between myself, parents, siblings, and some friends that care.
We can, from our phones, drop them on the local Pi, and SyncThing powers the sharing.
But of course to share cat pictures, we should fire up thousands of machines running 24/7 in data-centers, and rely on tricks of psychology to keep people coming back as justification for keeping those computers on.
Services like FB are akin to a TV show -- not a broadcaster -- novel at first, but the story/characters don't change much (or for the worse in more cases than not), it grows stale for the masses, loses ratings, and eventually it'll end and only die hards will care.
And their real contributions, large scale compute cluster knowledge, is relatively well known and copied by others.
If they are so desperate to not have me as a potential user, then they can have it...
It lasted 24 hours before it was suspended again and had to do the whole thing all over again with the same copy/pasted responses.
Their fraud system is an absolute joke.
These increase engagement and metrics. But, they produce an unwanted feeling of compulsion where instagram didn't before. I've uninstalled the app for a bit.
I never felt like that about Instagram before, but I remember first feeling like that about Facebook years ago. If I'm right, what I'm feeling about instagram is a prelude to others feeling the same. Instagram usage will first go up, then down.
I don't yet have that feeling about snapchat, though the new design is annoying. (Mixing in stories and messages)
Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with ads. I used to see them, back when instagram felt fun. Now I don't.
It annoys me because no one ever asked for non-chronological & there's no setting to change it. Instead it shows you stuff it ‘thinks’ you want to see but so far it has been way off the mark for me. And I've missed local bar promos as a result.
I'll give it credit though; it has encouraged me to unfollow a large amount of people it kept showing me repeats of.
I definitely feel less urge to engage on Instagram now than I used to as well.
It's absurd that it's necessary, but it works 100% of the time for me since they moved to non-chronological sorting.
All I want is a complete chronological feed of media. No terrible sorting algo, no held back stuff to show me later, no suggestions.
Much like searching for Tweets, Twitter provides a "New" vs "Top" filter which does that same...
It has nothing to do with advertising as both views can include ads.
It's not that they can't have it. They have no incentive to do so.
Algorithm feeds provides the guarantee that an ad is seen by a minimum number of users, which is the entire value of facebook.
I tried to try it out but even on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 when it came out it was unbearably slow and even not using the camera drained the battery (IIRC it is/was because Snapchat kept the camera on during the time the app was open in order to avoid the 1-2s lag of camera setup). I can't understand why and how kids and young people like it so much.
That. That right there is why they like it so much. Because you're not on it. Their parents and grandparents are on Facebook, but those parents and grandparents can't figure out how to use Snapchat or don't see why kids like it, and that is exactly why kids like it.
It's the "adults can't see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch" or "Trix is for kids" of their generation.
Basically, it's far worse than the iOS version, due to Android fragmentation and Snapchat's failure to code for the different camera of at least the high end android devices.
Interesting you've had the same experience despite not growing your friends list. I had wondered if my own distate was simply because my list grew. Sounds like not.
I agree on the stories. They stole a march on Snapchat, but they may have destroyed what made Instagram enjoyable and stress free.
As an engineer and social media user, I completely agree, but it doesn't seem to be bearing out in the marketplace. Facebook continues to grow (if more slowly).
So what is the HN audience to Facebook? Our we taste makers? A demographic ahead of the product curve, predictive of Facebook's imminent decline?
Or are we simply irrelevant to the mass market? Are we the people going to the art house movie theaters while the masses flood into multiplexes for the latest Marvel sensory overload spectacle?
Look at the overwhelmingly negative response to the iPod, which then went on to destroy CD players and every other brand of MP3 player, right up to the point where people just used their iPhone for MP3s, when the techie audience bemoaned the death of the iPod because their music library was too big to fit on a cell phone, at which point the mainstream switched to streaming services so no one noticed. Luckily there are still niche products catering to our needs.
Look at the complaints about the iPhone with no multitasking and no physical keyboard and no user-replaceable battery and no stylus, and the massive success it had which ultimately killed Palm, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry. Luckily there are still niche products catering to our needs.
Look at the complaints about the iPad, which killed the techie-favored netbooks. Luckily there are still niche products catering to our needs.
My rule of thumb is, if HN/Reddit/etc hates it because it doesn't have enough features, it's going to be a massive success in the mainstream market.
The people you see posting (you and I included) are weird. Betting against the product choices of wierd people is probably at least somewhat effective as an investment strategy.
My gut instinct is both: HN can spot a tech product in decline faster than the majority of people, and I believe we’ll slowly see more and more people move away, along with a lack of younger folks coming onboard. But not everyone will depart: I think Facebook will decline but not cease to exist. It’s the new “TV” to a certain chunk of the population.
Look beyond those selective statistics, FB.com is dead.
That's a bit of a strange conclusion when their financials show increasing revenue and increasing profit, quarter over quarter and year over year. From 2016 to 2017 their revenue grew almost 50% as did their Net Income.
It's not all roses of course, but it's hardly dead.
We certainly aren't taste makers. HN is so small that it is irrelevant.
> Are we the people going to the art house movie theaters while the masses flood into multiplexes for the latest Marvel sensory overload spectacle?
We are just victims of the ongoing media campaign against facebook and social media. Once facebook gives in, the media will shift their hate to something else. Every time I come on HN, it's the same old facebook story. So just do what I do and click "hide" whenever you see an article about facebook on HN.
I wish HN would offer us the ability to filter our stories. I don't have facebook. Never used it ( I'm a unicorn ). I don't want to read headlines about it every day on HN.
About ~8-10% of my Facebook friends quit over a four or five year span. Typically not long after joining Facebook and beginning to contribute (within a year or so). Those accounts have all just been sitting there quasi-dead with blank images, for many years (although they're still on my friends list, and no doubt counted by FB as a user (but not a MAU)). None of them have ever come back alive.
I was a FB user when it was still closed to the general public (using my alumni email address) so yes, I would say that I/we are that demographic.
What I see is: everyone is moving to private, carefully curated groups on WhatsApp, where sharing outside the group will get you instantly ostracised.
(I don't think it's solely this. I figure it's a mix of this and both things you said.)
I believe a lot of comments are about their main site which I also agree that got dramatically worse and no longer provides the same value it once did.
When I worked at a telco in Afghanistan in 2014, Facebook was basically its own utility - SMBs and individuals used Facebook (and their precious cellular data) almost exclusively to message each other and conduct business. So much so that the most popular consumer/retail plans for Afghans were "Facebook usage plans" giving you X amount of data per month to be spent exclusively on Facebook. Amazon/google have little to no power over there, facebook has a ton. Ditto whatsapp.
I think you'll find this is true for almost any country where social ties are stronger than the US, and biz is newer, or built around mobile/face-to-face transactions - fbook is much more important than it is here as a photo feed and news consumption hangout.
That said I agree for the US case and deleted my facebook ~2 years ago :)
When I used to work in the restaurant industry, my boss would order wine from one of the wineries using Facebook messenger. There are also social data plans that give you cheaper rates for Facebook, Snapchat, and some other services.
I'd also say that a lot of people I know exclusively get their news from Facebook and it's also very important as a photo sharing application.
Also, I think your second point contributes to this: mobile is huge in the Philippines, they send more texts than any other country. And on top of that, social ties are a lot stronger than those in America, especially familial ties, with many siblings, cousins, etc.
Facebook has zero-rating on mobile in the Philippines.
From what I've been hearing from internal teams, Facebook is hoping to take some of email's pie. I expect to see them pushing more people to use Facebook Messenger in place of email. And they're working on new types of ads that interface more with the Messenger. E.g. start a conversation with a company instead of taking you to their web site after clicking the ad.
I use FB very occasionally for some events, but mostly never login. I get nagging notifications about how much I'm missing, but it doesn't feel like much.
I suspect there is a growing population of people with similar usage patterns. Are we really monthly active users?
1) I'm in a couple specific regional groups that AFAIK have no non-Facebook counterpart (though they easily could). I think Facebook does groups poorly, but they serve the "non-technical community space" use case much better than any other popular offering that I know of.
2) It's the easiest way for me to blast low-key questions/updates/etc. to most of my friends and family. (I don't have everyone's e-mail address and even if I did, e-mail is often too "active" a medium. Like sending a letter vs. posting on a billboard.) Twitter serves a similar purpose but (a) most of my network does not have an active Twitter account, and (b) Twitter and Facebook serve subtly – but importantly – different social purposes.
3) Since the demise of XMPP and subsequent fragmentation of the IM ecosystem into sundry walled gardens, some (a small minority) of my friends are most readily accessible via Messenger. Strangely enough, SMS seems to have regained footing in this space in my network.
These used to be called "forums" and were very popular until Facebook invented groups and murdered them all.
I've found that I just care less what people are posting about than I used to, and I care less about posting my own stuff too. Would rather catch up when I see them next in person. And if I'm never going to see them in person, they're not really a big part of my life anyway.
Facebook's algorithm seems to get worse as time goes on too. It tends to show me the same old posts from around 20% of my friends and ignores what 80% of my other friends post. Maybe I'm technically wrong about this, but that's how it feels.
Daily Active Users = 1.40 Billion.
Monthly Active Users = 2.13 Billion.
It's hard to extract too many statistics out of this. It's just fair to say that if someone used Facebook at all in the last 30 days, they probably (>50% chance) used Facebook today.
The whole egosphere thing of celebrating your latest life success with posts is only ok for a small social circle. The idea of a captive user being fed 'feeds' has killed off that intimacy amongst friends in an already elderly and visually sterile environment.
I have a FB account and around 1400 'friends'. I rarely post on the account except to post articles about FB's shortcomings and in private groups about old cars I own, which is a sort of useless unsearchable lightweight forum use, a bit like the old AOL groups.
Why post comments about yourself to people you have only ever met online? The only reason I can think of is for the self congratulatory ego boost...and under 25's clearly don't get a hit off doing this on their grandpa's online channel...
My other accounts are purely for research, social network analysis and so on.
I wonder what the security implications are. I think a security researcher added a lot of phone numbers into his phone and let Facebook read it, and Facebook responded with names and faces of those numbers.
But we did exchange a few emails. I use fastmail and he uses gmail. A few days later he pops in the people you might know thing. At the time I did not have a cell phone so I am assuming he gave the app access to his contacts or something.
I think it is safe to say Facebook has a pretty detailed profile about you even if you never made an account.
And then suddenly ... my Facebook has been fixed. I had recently started "unfollowing" people who annoyed me and also un-liking all brands. Facebook has also done some recently algorithm changes.
A year ago my Facebook was a randomly-ordered stream of nonsense that was 80% branded content and 20% of my most antagonistic "friends".
Now it's a seemingly chronological view of what my Facebook friends are doing. If I leave Facebook and come back an hour later, it's basically the same feed with ~5 new posts on top. This makes it something I can actually check and not a black hole.
I hope they continue in this direction. They've got fantastic ad targeting and if they keep users around they can probably keep their ARPU really high.
Serious question: is now the time to disrupt? What would the "next" MySpace/FB look like? Ignoring techie "features" like decentralization, what do you think users actually care about?
2 of those 3 are now owned by Facebook
I'm traveling the world right now and observing people on the street and a lot of people browse Instagram more than any other apps.
The only ones posting (or at least the only posts that facebook shows me) are a mixture of advertising, extremely politically driven posts and links, someone's birthday, and a random smattering of generic posts from friends with whom you don't keep contact.
Our primary social media is group chats, texting, and snapchat, and reddit.
Is it so hard for you to believe that a group of corporate leaders can think that doing something (a strategy) can serve their user, their purpose, and their bottom line all at the same time, equally? It's probably one of the most prevalent self delusions in the corporate world...
In fact, I'd argue that the smarter the group of leaders think they are, the more likely they are to fall into said delusion... Since they'll think more of their strategies...
In response to your second point... Considering a large portion of Zuckerberg's wealth is in Facebook stock, and that Facebook also owns one of its chief competitors... I doubt it.
This type of feed would be unusable for the vast majority of users.
Why? Because of Page Likes.
I struggled to find quantitative data on this, but I myself like over 600 pages, and I'm selective. Many people like over 1000.
With a Most Recent news feed, those hundreds of pages would be posting multiple times a day vying for your attention.
100% reach, organic and zero cost? It's a marketers dream come true.
Add to that, I really only want to see posts from maybe 20% of my 'friends', and I believe this to be representative of the average user.
"Curate your friends list and page likes!", I hear you say.
No. I'm not bothered unliking hundreds of pages and neither is the average user. Not to mention, I did chose to hear from these pages for a reason. For friends, it's mostly socially unacceptable to unfriend people even if you haven't talked to them for a few years.
Hence, the algorithm that does the curating for me, because there's really no other way around it.
ps. I'm taking some liberties here speaking for an average user. I welcome data that shows I'm incorrect. The best I could find was from 2013 so is irrelevant.
Then people would simply only "like" things that they really liked and really wanted to see. This is a non-issue.
Are you kidding me? FB has 2.2Billion Monthly active users.
That’s already 0.00001% of the population, of course we’re a bubble.
The question is: is HN ahead of the curve with distaste toward FB, or an anomaly? There’s another thread on this post discussing just that.
They also just (after years of resisting) opened up the posting API to some partners.
That's not what the article suggests. If you have some stats to suggest the volume of Instagram users is already on the decline, by all means post it.
(Especially in comparison to Instagram as a product.)
My advice was: sell your shares, because developers are canaries for customers.
It got taken over by old people and companies looking to convert you to brands/religion/politics, all of which might be a liability to social/professional status.
I figured they were only important to keep of the facade of forever increasing user growth. If North America and Western Europe aren't were the bulk Facebook's revenue is coming from (and where most of its focus in placed), I'd be very surprised.
1. just got married/engaged
2. accepted to MBA/Law/Medical/other grad school
3. job offer from prestigious company such as McKinsey/Bain/ Google/FB/Apple
4. DSLR photos of exotic vacations
either that or passive aggresive political viewpoints.
Snapchat serves a completely different purpose and has the daily "realness" going for it
The amount of useless information, the irrelevance of it, ads, privacy concerns, the fact that you just care about your most intimate friends, and not about that ones you connected in the beggining when you though 'oh look, my friend from primary school!', most people does no longer provide interesting content, just conversations about politics (not always sane debates), photos to generate envy/pose... and realizing that Facebook just does not give you anything good, just depression or low self steem... Also the fact that when you are bored you just check social media instead of doing something useful... All of this made me realize I had got to close it.
And I feel better, and I'm sure I would feel even better if I also close my Instagram account. Nowadays I just keep the Instagram app on my phone. I also got tired of toxic comments on Twitter and I check it much less often now.
I feel, one of the reasons we registered on Facebook was to be more social but that ended up being the opposite and now we want to feel 'contact' again, and you can only get that by physical interaction and real conversation, because a postcard or a call has never been the same than a real conversation and a hug.
This is just the beggining. I've been on Facebook for 10 years, and I'm sure a lot of millenials are starting to close their accounts, or at least they don't even use it.
1. As a public opinion board. I post a question on my wall and people answer.
2. Chatting with my friends.
3. One Facebook group where me and my friends are in.
This is my setup to not get completely sucked into Facebook:
1. I changed my real accounts name to a fictional name that is related to my name. I changed my lastname to a French version of it (my lastname is a noun) and then I swapped my first and lastname. So anyone who Google's me on my real name can't find me.
2. I created a fake account with my real name and a modicum amount of friends (at random) in order to not get detected by Facebook that it is a fake account. I put the best pictures of me on this account. Now when people Google me, they see nice pictures.
3. My main browser has my fake account on auto-login. But it has my actual account on the auto-login of Messenger. This means when I go to Messenger, I can actually chat. And when I get nonsense (e.g. login with Facebook or sucked into some feature of Facebook) I get my fake account. Since it has a modicum of friends that I don't care about and nothing on it, there is not much I can do.
4. I set my main Facebook account on auto-login on my second browser. In this way I can still write wall posts and post/read about stuff in my Facebookgroup. Also, I installed a wall eridactor plugin.
I don't think I'll ever be able to completely get away from Facebook, but I am trying my best to keep its use to the things I want to do with it.
I think Facebook in general acts like a greedy business with data gathering and over advertising. It's toxic in that respect. It's a shame something as "open" as Diaspora didn't take off. I still think a new social platform might still arise from something like a chat app (like WhatsApp), but ultimately risk getting bought by FaceBook as they fear losing their stronghold in the market.
How many of the "users under 25" simply turned 26?
It's like an old article I saw somewhere about teen pregnancy dropping heavily once they reach 20 years old...
So, back of the napkin we can expect around 13M/5 or ~2.5M Facebook users to age out of the under-25 age-group in USA in a year. It's around the same ball-park.
Disclaimer: I'm recovering from flu.
Lot of solutions on offer. But IMHO, only one thing will fix it. Forcing it to open its protocol. A mail++ (for social) which will just allow all the products to compete in the open. They can compete on UI, the feed sort algorithm etc, among other things. Nobody will hate on Facebook as much. Its market cap will go down, but Zuck can sleep better.
 “I don’t think he sleeps well at night,” from https://www.wired.com/story/inside-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-...
I find that the structure of it encourages people to post things that just appeal to the lowest common denominator. My feed is full of trite positivity memes and cute girls taking selfies and saying stuff like "Coffee with friends!" It's.. fine? I just don't feel any connection to other people when I'm on there, and I don't really feel free to actually state real ideas or opinions, so it barely even feels particularly "social" to me. It's just a lot of people acting as their own PR department mixed with a lot of people patting each other on the back.
the worst is when your friends share garbage, and you view it, you start to see more garbage suggested to you. you can't "un-see" anything. the algorithm knows.
They know the particular property of facebook.com can't last forever, so they go where the users are going. Last I checked Instagram is the hottest app out there for anyone 35 or under. As of last year at least Facebook, messenger and Instagram were each still in the top 5-10 most used apps.
I feel like people somehow don't see facebook as the digital conglomerate that they are and focus on what is happening on facebook.com as though it's a harbinger of the rest of the company.
Also, IMO they have the best Machine Learning (specifically vision) team on the planet and are consistently making amazing tools open source. That alone is worth a lot.
This is problem with any service where users care about userbase. For netflix, userbase is not a concern for users. Hence such services are more likely to survive long term, as long as they keep themselves relevant.
FB, Whatsapp and Instagram however, are destined to die very soon(I'd bet a lifecycle of 2 decades). Users are eventually going to move on.
I'll offer those numbers are related to their parents already being there. Those kids will probably sign up or come back when they get a bit older.
When I joined Facebook (~2006/7) there was a very clear value to me: my and my college classmates could send messages, collaborate, and organize events.
Now it seems like a wasteland, I really have no idea how I could put Facebook to work for me, and since not everybody I need to collaborate with it is on Facebook (some are very opposed to it) it's useless as a platform for organizing events compared to other event-planning platforms. Why would anybody ever need Facebook?
They grow up. When you're a teen, or even young adult, you don't want your parents snooping on you, but as you grow a bit older you find that you do want to keep in touch with family.
As a result, it's a good fit for people who are only occasionally online.
Everybody else wants to live share what's happening right now. Whatsapp is great for this, as it allows instant group chats with ephemeral ad-hoc groups.
Instagram is great to share what just happened, without a UI polluted with older and unrelated content.
Six years ago when my classmates and I applied to college we were changing our profiles to make them not appear on potential searches by admissions offices. This including faking names, pictures, etc. To me that was the moment Facebook became something I didn't want to be a part of, fake etc.
I have a feeling that Facebook is following the same decline of generalistic TV, which, similarly to Facebook
- contains mostly ads and crappy/shocking/debatable content
- its userbase is becoming more and more elderly
- teens start to snob it and move on to the next cool thing
- people get bored of it and decide not to bother with it anymore
Yes, I still have an account but I have removed all personal information, pictures, and deleted all my posts. I also go months between using it. I can't bring myself to totally remove my account though.
However I also have a zero friend policy on Facebook. Having zero friends, plus the "only friends of friends can send me a friend request" setting, means nobody can send a friend request. I suggest you try it, it's glorious.
The thing is that FB is actively tranferring the teens to Instagram and the overall audience is growing so...
Instagram is owned by Facebook. That's why I don't think Facebook is worried about migration off the parent app, they can just spin off endless trendy social apps and market them to target demographics under new names.
Agree with other posters that it's annoying how anything you like or comment on is broadcasted to your entire feed. Makes you not want to comment or like amything.
If Facebook spun out its own events app, I would probably stop using Facebook core altogether.
I keep post my position in this kind of news. I never used it. I will never use it. It will close before I will use it.
I could consider to use it if hired or paid to test it.
Twitter OTOH seems to appeal to both of them, still.
If only it were a little less social
Patchwork has some big advantages. It's fully distributed, not federated like Mastodon/diaspora/OStatus, and works offline. But the experience isn't as polished yet. There are still some lingering issues with Patchwork... namely, it only runs on desktop computers, and your identity is tied to one device. But they are actively working on these issues.
Both are really cool and worth checking out.
Isn't the idea behind diaspora something similar to sub-reddit's/facebook groups? You find a "pod" of interest/relation and join up. Thus a focus on the social/community aspects.
So there is no viable alternative for most people - decentralized or otherwise.
it won't work for 100% of the people you know, but it isn't that difficult to get a few friends to try a new app/service.
even if you can't/don't know how to set up an instance, there are hundreds of public servers that you can join. honestly, the only excuse is that you don't want to put yourself out on a limb.
I'm sorry but I'm not going to spend my personal time convincing hundreds of my contacts to move over to a random service called Mastodon. I've got better things to do with my life. I'm going to use Facebook as a tool and move on - as I'm sure the less vocal majority are doing.
There is a philosophical viewpoint and a practical one. I choose the practical one.
lmao ok like this is an all or nothing situation. my response should have been prefixed with if you care about promoting alternative networks you could... (which is what OP was asking for), mastodon is the largest one right now.
i think SSB has a brighter future, but it isn't production ready quite yet.
"practical" as in, what you think is best. it is practical for me to invite people to promote decentralized social networks because my community is competing with the facebooks of the world for attention. your "impractical approach" is my "guerilla marketing strategy".
I'm not looking to promote any social network or philosophy. I'm simply looking for a modern tool with which I can contact my friends and family that live in different states and countries in an efficient way. That's it. And I'd bet this is also the case for a majority of people.
I get that if you want to start a niche community or small groups for special interests, there are tons of other ways to organize. For example, Discord for gaming.
But at the end of the day, even those who use Discord a lot and are heavily involved in gaming communities will still have a Facebook so they can connect with the random person they just met at a party, or send photos to their grandma.
Which is why Facebook bought it.
Should that have been legal?
The problem is, younger users have a much better intuitive sense of those dark patterns because they must develop street smarts about how they can be misused (cyber bullying, revenge porn, deepfakes, etc.)
I don't see how any responsible parent could put a video of his/her kid on Facebook when it's just a simple download away from being turned into someone's perverted deepfake, bullying fodder during junior high, etc.
In fact I'd argue that it's irresponsible stewardship of a child's future online autonomy for a parent to post any pictures or data that could be easily misused/abused by his/her own Facebook network. This means pretty much all pics and videos.
If this sounds silly, consider that Facebook makes deleting pictures one has uploaded a significant chore that requires 10x the number of clicks it ought to.
When I think about deleting some of the old pics I've uploaded to FB that I'd rather take down, the thought of dealing with all the dark pattern speed bumps trying to make it difficult underscores the outright hostility Facebook feels toward its users.
Recently Facebook had a bug where any Instagram account that had been linked to a Facebook account magically got the Facebook user's profile photo. Even this is a crass disregard for user privacy. Instagram is used much, much differently than Facebook and it's completely unreasonable to expect a user to wish to use the same profile photo.
Young people are just a bit more savvy than the rest of us because their peers/foes/etc are more likely to have had the time and inclination to do minor mischief that Exploits Facebook's defaults. Younger users prefer Instagram or Snap largely because the privacy settings are less opaque and fewer dark patterns are used.
This is probably why Facebook bought Instagram, and why Facebook has allowed the younger users to leave... The revenue generated by milking the older users must outweigh the value of having the younger users. After all, Facebook could easily create a linked Facebook account for all Instagram users and role out a new privacy pattern geared at the preferences of younger users if doing so would result in profit.
But as it stands, younger users are happy to engage with Instagram and Whatsapp and Facebook is not throwing away any of the behavioral profiling data, so eventually when the platforms change/evolve Facebook has lost nothing.
Analogously, Facebook isn't wasting time feeling hurt about users not loving its namesake platform. The company is far broader and more encompassing than the namesake app. If you are using a Facebook owned product and generating data in it, you are helping move ad inventory and doing your part to help Facebook make money.