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There is something else going on around FB.

Almost all activity online has shifted away from the Social Graph to a Content Graph. Almost nobody wants to see what their friends are doing online anymore. In a lot of ways it can be cringey. People just want the latest, catchiest content. TikTok and Youtube are the OGs here, but it's everywhere when you start to look. Twitter timeline changes being an awkward but working example. Discovery > Static friends list.

The entire premise FB was founded on is eroding. This isn't just Apple privacy and some regulatory strangulation. It's seismic to the business. The reason most people are still going to Facebook is incompatible with their primary activities online which is: consuming content from people-you-don't-know.

Facebook is where you find out your highschool friend is super in to a MLM, your uncle has drastic political views you don't share, and that your historical social class and network is largely irrelevant to your life a decade later.

They are doing everything they can to try to move in this direction, but the more they push it the less useful Facebook is for the average user. Instagram's discovery page is a prime example. But Reels are less good than TikTok, and whatever they are doing for short form video in Facebook is surely a hopeless game of catch up. This is classical innovator's dilemma.

The very idea that Zuckerberg straight up said they need to copy the competition harder is incomprehensible considering the resources they have.

They are going to try to do a few things. One is to anti-trust Apple (in the media at least), and the other is to hand wave (Metaverse).

The reason the Metaverse was such a non sequitur is that it is so clearly a last minute thrust coming out of the C-Suite. If you've ever worked at a highly visible tech pubco, you've seen this happen before. Weak quarters mean that product announcements get pushed up. When it is as all encompassing as the Metaverse announcement, you know something is up.




"Facebook is where you find out your highschool friend is super in to a MLM, your uncle has drastic political views you don't share, and that your historical social class and network is largely irrelevant to your life a decade later."

This is probably the most accurate description of Facebook I've seen.


I'm reminded of a Twitter joke from (according to the WaPo) @KevinFarzad:

"HEY IT'S ME your facebook friend from high school who never left our hometown & thinks Olive Garden is fancy. Anyway, here's a racist article."


How is that a joke? It's just looking down on someone because of where they live, eat and their politics (assuming very lose definition of "racist"). And when did the role of journalists start including dunking on random people?


You seem fun.

It's funny because it's something many, many people identify with. A good chunk of Americans with the ability to do so leave small, provincial areas they grew up in for better opportunities in larger, more diverse cities. This leads to a pretty huge disconnect between them and those who, for whatever reason, stayed in their hometown.

It wasn't something that you noticed as much until Facebook exploded, and then everyone got re-connected with people from high school that, in some cases, you'd neither seen nor thought about in 20 years. And then the sort of post that prompted the joke happens, and you see it clearly.

And I assure you, as someone who grew up in and later left arguably the MOST racist state in the US south, the articles these archetypes are sharing are often quite explicit in their racism.


Many people just want a normal life around family and friends and what they're familiar with. Having family around in particular is especially important when you have children or when your parents are approaching their end of life. Children get sick and having a relative around to help watch them is essential.

Many don't optimize their life their lives around "better opportunities" and "diverse cities". It sounds like you do, and good for you.


I hesitate to respond to you again because I think you've dug your heels in here on finding the joke troublesome, but:

You DO realize that it's not at the expense of MERELY staying in a small, provincial, homogeneous place, right? It's ALSO continuing to embrace the blinkered worldview that growing up in such a place engenders. You need both for the joke to land.

You're reacting here as thought it's JUST about moving away (or not). It isn't.

I know educated, open-minded people who stayed in my hometown who have grown personally and intellectually and morally since youth. They stayed there for a handful of reasons, and some of them are as you state: an inability or unwillingness to be more than an hour from family, for example.

But I know of far more people who have not advanced in any meaningful way since they were 18 or 20. They often find the VERY IDEA of a world beyond the hometown to be fishy and untrustworthy. They are, uniformly, uncritical consumers of Fox News. They are the ones posting racist memes about, say, the Obamas, or proudly touting their COVID vax refusenik status.

This is who the joke is about.


lol - thanks for this. Only on HN can you start with a joke and end with this.


Yeah, it's tedious.


Solid explanation, but I think anyone can be forgiven for taking that tweet at face value and finding it disrespectful to small town people (good or bad) .


wish I could report or downvote this


Reader, please take a moment to reflect on how hilarious this message is.


Why?


[flagged]


Is your contention that there are no uncritical consumers of Fox News? If so, I have a huge swath of family in Mississippi I should introduce you to.


Um no. Tell me, what the point of that statement is other than to be a bigot and spreading hate? Could it have been left out, and less hate spread because of it, without changing the context they provided? So you see, it’s just there to spread hate.


KevinFarzad is not a journalist. WaPo was just reporting on such jokes.


Journalist are normal people. Normal people write shitposts on Twitter. Presidents and CEOs can shitposts on Twitter but journalists cannot? What a weird assumption.


Showing contempt for huge swaths of people doesn't really bode well for objectivity. It's in poor taste for anyone to just dunk on people who stay near their homes and eat at olive garden. Sure, journalists CAN shit post, and obviously they do. I guess I assume journalists that cover news for presumably everyone wouldn't have such open contempt for so many people. But hey, that's just me.


I just realized you're basing your ire here on a misread of my post.

The joke is not from a journalist.

The joke was copied widely when originally posted, and it wasn't clear to me who wrote it in the first place -- but if I was going to reference it here, I wanted to give proper credit.

I found a story in the WaPo about online joke plagiarism, and it used this joke as an example -- and cited musician Kevin Farzad as the original author. Based on this, I credited him in my comment accordingly.


I misread your post in exactly the same way and thought the joke was made by a journalist.


They’re not dunking on people who stay near home and eat at Olive Garden.


It's different because I identify and agree with the virtue signaling of holier-than-thou social climbers who claim to do journalism. Their views represent mine, and since I am mostly without purpose or depth, I don't make petty distinctions about the definition of journalism: I only want them to validate my position that everyone I do not like is <insert adjective here> and incapable of critical thinking. The irony of this position is totally lost on me.


What’s the matter with Olive Garden?


Joke is thinking OG is somehow fancy digs.


It is fancy to a lot of people. I think the parent tweet is funny, but no need to dunk on people that don’t have a lot of money.


I wonder where that comes from. Do they pre-prepare their food and microwave it?


It's one of the cheapest casual dining restaurants that provide table service but avoids being fast casual dining and still tries to avoid a cheap look. Basically if eating out in general is a luxury due to cost then to you an Olive Garden or an Applebees type place is where you go to have your celebratory types of dinners because either your small town doesn't have much more to go to and/or your income doesn't really let you go spend on 1 12oz steak what could cover the entire meal for a small group at Olive Garden.

Of course there is nothing wrong with thinking OG is fancy and so on. Better to avoid folks who make a big deal out of it IMO.


It's a cheap, sly way to make an anti-White dig.


lol classic


lol classist


Not really. A lot of my high school friends in that boat are upper class. One is the new district attorney of my hometown for instance. Another is a regulelar contributer to fox news.

The stereotype is orthogonal to class.


“Thinks Olive Garden is fancy” is clearly a pejorative class signal


In my experience it says more about if you've left your little town for a relatively significant period of time than class. I know train kids with more exposure to the world than that, and as I said above district attorneys and national news contributors who have no interest in anything outside the commercial zone of their suburb.


> train kids

Is this a slur for my kind?


It's a term for teenagers and young adults that left the small town they were from by literally jumping on to a moving cargo train.


I suspect what may be tripping people up in this kind of discussion is that financial class and social class can be distinct from each other.


Spot on observation.

Classical guitar teacher here. I'd never have been able to buy the house I'm writing this from on my salary if not for also prostituting myself in the it sector :-)


I've found that social class in non urban environments is orthogonal to taste.

District attorneys don't necessarily get paid well, but they are pretty high up in local social class.


This probably sounds like a real zinger to a certain kind of young person who moved to Brooklyn and thinks everybody back home is a total loser, but this is not the modal Facebook user, so I'm not sure it matters much.


You’re trying to characterize OP as a condescending out of touch hipster, but in my opinion your characterization of the “modal” Facebook user is actually more so. The “modal” Facebook user is equally capable of being dissatisfied with the product as your 2013 hipster caricature is because FB has failed to deliver on its mission. The social side is boring and doesn’t generate as much engagement because it turns out your friends from high school truly are not relevant to your life, yes even the “modal” Facebook user is capable of change and evolution; and the content side leaves users feeling angry, divided, and exhausted after the hundredth flame war they find themselves embroiled in over the political upset of the day. It does matter.


"2013 hipster caricature"

"largely irrelevant to your life a decade later."

hey, 2013 was about a decade ago, you nailed it


i mean you can easily write the obverse joke and it has the same overall point - “hey, it’s me, your friend from high school that moved to brooklyn and got a tattoo and thinks he’s better than you. here’s an article about how big yogurt’s assumption you can use a spoon is Ableist” still underscores the fact that facebook is a pipeline to deliver brain poison.


Both jokes made me laugh and wouldn’t it be great if everyone could just CHILL?


You are making a different point, though.

The original argument was that Facebook is failing to keep up with the times, hence why the back-home losers are still using it while you, the successful urban-dweller, have moved on.

Your argument that Facebook is “a pipeline to deliver brain poison” has a lot more value, even if only because it’s more objective.


I won't argue whether it's accurate, but I think you missed the point. You can swap words around, and get the same for any demographic.

The friend's perception of the poster would be "HEY IT'S ME your facebook friend from high school who went to New York and thinks is better than you. Anyway, here's a woke article."


But that wouldn’t support their argument that FB is failing to keep up with the times.

I think it matters largely because I don’t believe that most people just want content. Everyone I speak with who uses FB on a daily basis has made the decision to excuse the habit purely because they are interested in keeping in touch with people. But by excusing that habit, they end up mostly consuming content because that’s what the feed gives them.

I left FB the day their “timeline” stopped supporting chronological sort.


> this is not the modal Facebook user

the increasing hew and cry suggests that it actually is


Well, it was always kind of doomed in this way.

When everyone is still actively building their friend list (remember this started for college students) its an amazing product because it brings you closer to people in a new way and allows for curation without investing a ton into AI/ML.

For people who stay in a static social bubbles for long times (e.g., your parents, your friends from HS who didn't move to a coastal city) it's also perfect, because they tend to value content related to their social group more than something new and interesting.

But for the highest value users (e.g., the ones with high-paying knowledge-based jobs and a willingness to try new things) the social graph will never keep up with their lives. Bad content from the edges of the graph will slowly creep into feeds (MLMs being a prime example) and those high-value users will seek out new platforms that conform better to their interests.

Instagram was a brilliant stop-gap, but Mark never saw the writing on the wall about algorithmic content (probably b/c Bytedance had the advantage of cutting its teeth in China first) and is just too far behind to ever really catch up.

So now he's trying to out-future Bytedance with VR (and even got them to burn $1bn on Pico), but unless he has some hard-tech rabbit to pull out of his hat, there's just not anything there.

We may very well be seeing the largest (negative) turn-around story in history since Yahoo! play out in front of our eyes.


When do the desperate acquisitions start?


https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/26/facebook-buys-the-vr-studi...

They already have, and if the US Government would allow them to make another acquisition over $1bn, they already would have (I guarantee 5 different Biz Dev associates have made very long PowerPoints about Roblox and Rec Room only to be told the idea is DOA).

It's actually kind of amazing that Mark's off-putting personality and desire to remain the face of the company is what will kill it (let's just hope Aaron Sorkin stays alive long enough for the sequel, because it might rival Citizen Kane).


It's really a perfect assessment. I couldn't articulate why exactly Facebook felt like I was purely wasting time each time I engaged with the experience (few times a year). This description completely crystallizes my thinking.


Actually it’s not. Your early life social group becoming irrelevant to your life a decade later is NOT representative at all. What is accurate to say is the OP is not connecting with his old friends anymore. But let’s be real here, not everyone’s like that. Facebook is just a tool to connect with people. Attributing and expecting Facebook to make your friendships more relevant and meaningful is foolish and hopeless.


Yes. There are some social groups that still use it (“no practice today”) but the novelty has gone and the youngsters have moved on. If the value of the graph increases exponentially with users, each user leaving causes a disproportionate value drop.


A girl I thought was cute in college was totally convinced T***** would retain the Presidency on 1/6, so I guess it was useful as a sign something was going to happen.


I haven’t seen anyone voledermord trump b4


Just a couple of late night US talk shows, including the most viewed one, have done this.


Really? I’ve been doing it continuously since mid-2016, and I don’t think I’m alone.


Do you think if you say his name 3 times he’ll appear?


why?


He probably wants to avoid having a discussion with trolls and astroturfing 42 supporters who have trouble filling in blanks.


And you’re saying the supporters almost all share this particular characteristic that makes them incapable of filling those blanks. Well…it makes sense.


I think there are a lot of people who are in my position, which is "I would absolutely love to ditch FB entirely, but I can't because of ____".

The value of ____ might be "seeing pictures of family", or it might be "coordination of/participation in a group that has settled on Facebook as the easiest path" (<-- this is me), or it might be "professionally necessary to be there" or a number of other things.

But none of these are positive reasons. There is no love of Facebook behind any of them. It's Facebook being tolerated. This is bad for Meta.

This is probably good for society at large, though. Or at least I hope it will be.


Yup, Facebook has their tentacles in so many places that walking away from it is difficult, especially if you are involved in local community activities.

My neighborhood exclusively uses Facebook for neighborhood communication.

My kid's school PTA exclusively uses Facebook.

Most of the local food trucks only post their schedules on Facebook.

Since the pandemic started I have been taking the opportunity to go through my house and clean out lots of things that have just been hanging around for years. I list everything I sell on Facebook, Craigslist, OfferUp, and Nextdoor. I can’t remember the last time I got a bite from any of the other services that aren't Facebook. It’s been awhile.

It honestly drives me be crazy how this company has wormed their way into being such an essential piece of communication infrastructure for so many people that I can’t quit without sacrificing my ability to participate in some of the things I really enjoy.

So I begrudgingly tolerate Facebook.


For me, it's the local cycling community. Rides and ride groups all use it as their point of coordination.

>Most of the local food trucks only post their schedules on Facebook.

Oh, god, that's annoying. I've actually seen some businesses forgo a proper web site and instead JUST USE FB, which is crazy annoying.


This!! But its even worse, they don't update their FB page. So I'm forced to use FB to find where they are this week to find their last update was August 2021.


I am from Europe so I may not get it, but what communication does a neighborhood do that is important? Yard sales?

Do people really participate in something like school PTA and eat often at food trucks?

I guess electronic platforms are more fragmented here in Europe. Google Maps owns business hours, various classified sites (such as Ebay's) own selling stuff locally. But everything might be different in each country really.

I think people have become more vary to post personal things online. I know very little parents that would be okay to publish pictures of their kids online (including on Facebook).


Is it so weird to imagine that having a shared communication space for one's neighborhood is desirable? There's a group for my neighborhood in Houston that's great for referrals (e.g., electricians), or notes about neighborhood businesses, etc. I can't imagine this idea is uniquely American, but maybe it is.

Yes, parents often participate in PTAs. Parent engagement is a big deal in education.

Yes, in many places in the US there are food trucks. People often enjoy them. Finding out where a given truck will be on Tuesday is useful!

Businesses generally keep Facebook pages in the US, usually as a supplement to a real web site, but also because Facebook has traditionally been where everyone is already.


What is a food truck? Can it dump the food in my mouth?


Our neighborhood uses an FB group. There are typically 2-3 posts a week.

* lost and found (including pets)

* HOA announcements

* changes to the trash pickup schedule, special trash collections, etc

* other events (Santa parade)

* new neighbor introductions

* recommendations (repairs, babysitting, dog sitting)

* free stuff or stuff for sale

* general advice on house construction (many houses are similar)

It’s not important per se, and not everyone is in the group. But it does come in handy.


>I think people have become more vary to post personal things online. I know very little parents that would be okay to publish pictures of their kids online (including on Facebook).

I have a few Facebook friends that refuse to post pictures of their kids on Facebook. I also have a LOT of friends that post nothing but.


I quit Facebook three years ago. Deleted all my posts and just left one of my cat. The internet was originally made to share pictures of your cat.


Super-local news and gossip may be very relevant. I am not on Facebook, but I think I am missing out on it. For example, why was there a police car parked two blocks away last Thursday? Someone might have posted about it.


Citizen answers this question better than Facebook


Nextdoor also used to do it well, but it has become like Facebook with flame wars and political craziness.


I'm working on another option for some of these things on my platform, Tosslet: https://tosslet.com

Would love some feedback on if you think it would help solve communications from: 1) PTA -> resident 2) Food Trucks -> nearby people


Your main non-social-media competitor here is probably going to be https://www.remind.com/, and I really can't see you winning, especially when you charge as much as you do. (I initially misread your pricing, but $0.60 is still kind of a lot.)


Cal Newport's "Digital Minimalism" addresses this common use-case scenario.

1) Remove the apps from your phone and log out on mobile browser, making each future login a concentrated intentional effort. (You can leave Messenger if that might be used for emergency contacts).

2) Use www version only.

3) Choose a time when you're going to sit by your home computer, and use social media for some pre-determined time slot, let's say 30 minutes.

The social networks are very good at serving this use case - showing most important content first, and relegating the junky stuff further down the feed. This way you won't miss any baby photos or wedding announcements, but will be spared from your uncle getting into a heated political discussion.


The social networks are very good at serving this use case - showing most important content first, and relegating the junky stuff further down the feed.

Only up to a point. I have actually missed wedding announcements because the announcement was pushed far down by more recent but less relevant news. Yes, if you use Facebook for 30 minutes a day, you probably won't miss anything. But if you use Facebook less often than that (like an hour a week, or once a month), you will absolutely miss relevant news because it'll be pushed down by whatever political shoutfest is currently drawing comments and reactions.


> Yes, if you use Facebook for 30 minutes a day, you probably won't miss anything. But if you use Facebook less often than that (like an hour a week, or once a month)

Which I'm sure is complete coincidence and not at all intended to draw you into using Facebook every second of every hour of every day


It's like that with me and having a phone number. Day to day I hate it. 95% of time I get scam calls from the "IRS" - actively harmful. Another 4% is marketing - unwanted, wasteful. Only the last 1% is potentially useful.

Is facebook trending in that direction? Seems like it.


I wonder if there's a generalisable statement in there - say, that all communication media will eventually become so swamped in noise that the signal is lost almost entirely?

Maybe too pessimistic.


It seems spot on to me. The fix is rather simple though, allow consumers to set some price that must be paid prior to sending the communication attempt. Want to call or email me and aren’t on my accepted list? $5 please.


I quit having a phone number and just rent virtual ones for shitty webservices that force me to have a number. Zero regrets.

I quit Facebook years ago and do not miss anything either, so maybe it's just me.


Seeing pictures of family and participating in group events are all positive in my opinion.

My son's daycare has a facebook page. It's very convenient to stay up to date on my own schedule without having to deal with emails. My pizzeria also has a facebook page. It's an easy way to look up hours or any updates. My gym has an instagram page to post their workouts and schedule. It's very convenient. The owners aren't very tech savvy so its easy for them. And its easy for me because the website isn't broken, gives me everything I need, lets me comment or reach out to the owners and is well indexed

It's like saying "I wouldn't use product if not for the value I get from the product".


Two of your examples can be done using a shared calendar, which is more fitting in these cases than facebook, and integrates more deeply into devices, and the third about looking up hours can be done using the maps app.

They try to make you think they invented the wheel but really they’re just offering the same services as elsewhere under their umbrella.


The information you get from businesses USED to be available on their own sites, without requiring you to submit to Facebook's invasive tracking.


I don't have any particular love for Facebook, but it remains the best way to share my underwater photography with friends. That's a positive reason. I appreciate how they give me a convenient distribution platform and it's all free.


Why could you not post all of your pics to a shared photo album that’s shared with your friends? It’d even remove the step of posting it only because as soon as it’s on your machine it’s uploaded to your cloud photo album. And it’s still free. Further what if you want to share this with those that aren’t your friends? You’ve required facebook usage with no real gain.


(this was years ago but) I thought this too. I was relatively new to a new city and still building my friend group. I was worried that if I deleted facebook I wouldn't get invited to events, keep in touch with new people I met.

I deleted it anyway. Deleting facebook didn't change my real world in anyway.


Re: metaverse, it's not really a handwavey after thought - they've been investing quite significantly ($10bn lost last year alone while all of Google's bets including deepmind and waymo lost ~1.45bn. >10k people working on it now AFAIK).

I think Facebook just got burned by not having a hardware platform this cycle - Apple and Google control the phones and Microsoft has the PC, XBox etc. They just want control over the next big hardware platform.

Whether that's a reasonable bet or not who knows? But I wouldn't be as dismissive of their ambitions in the space.


I just wonder where the software for it is at. Oculus is chugging along and I believe that can get quite good. But building a impressive MMO-like 3D world/game is probably a 5-10 year endeavor and runs a high risk that it won’t be fun or novel. I guess they’ll mainly build the platforms but then they need someone to build the worlds on top of it.


Zenith VR might fit your definition of MMO like 3D game.


I use Facebook more these days than I did 5 years ago. It has replaced Craigslist as the place to go for local things, especially buy/sell/trade. Our town, and even certain villages within the town, has a few discussion groups that is where I hear all the important talk/annoucements about what is going on. Groups tend to be like a Subreddit but with geographic IRL connections instead of anonymous interest-based associations.

Perhaps I'm just an outlier, but it's the same with Twitter for me. I use it more these days than I did some years ago, but I also use it mostly like an RSS feed. I follow video game devs, musicians, etc. so I can be kept in the loop on the latest releases and whatnot.

I think you make a good point about content graph. I think there is some truth to that, although I have never really taken any interest in anything but the kind of content that YouTube offers.


This is the exact same situation as me. As I’ve revisited old hobbies I used to be obsessed with 10-15 years ago, I realize that EVERYTHING has moved from the VB-based forums, to Facebook groups and marketplace.

I don’t mind the marketplace architecture, it’s quite nice actually. But Groups is the absolute worst place to house former forum content because it’s just not indexed well. There a few groups that I’m in that are managed really well, which gives them ~60% the utility of a tradition forum still.

What I’ve done on FB is aggressively unfollowed every single friend and page that I don’t care about. My feed is now strictly a feed of group posts from people I don’t know about my hobbies that I enjoy…it’s actually quite nice!


Yes I agree completely about how poor Facebook is at indexing old content. They are definitely not focused on anything but the absolute present. Same with Reddit. It's really too bad. I understand, though. People just don't have the will to figure out BBcode or create logins for every forum they are interested in.


What all of this points out is that Facebook never really solved the "MySpace/Friendster" problem, they just had the better product at the right time and were able to get a few more years of safety by acquiring threats (which is not a long term strategy).

It's wild that FB has become such a highly valued company despite the fact that they have always been resting on rather shaky foundations.

We can also start to see Goodhart's Law in action at scale. Running your company by constantly optimizing for metrics (as so many startups mimic now) eventually does catch up to you. The vitriolic content that initially got them massive engagement eventually gets more and more people repulsed by the service.

In the end, just like MySpace and Friendster, there is nothing that really prevents users from exiting from the platform extremely fast once the tide of the network effect turns the other way.


Seems right. In my and my close friends/family experience it’s all the same - all the cool/interesting people stopped posting many years ago and with each one, more and more followed them or got bored and stopped going. Now it’s just the dorks posting stale memes or boring updates. I haven’t posted anything actively for many years now but still check it now and then and shake my head.

I think it started a slow bleed when they removed the chronological view. After that it became “evil” and not about social connection anymore. No longer was my post being seen by my friends unless the algo thought it was saucy enough. It was a great business but I dont think you’ll ever get the people who are fed up to come back.


I'm not sure this is right. I think the problem with Facebook is that long ago it shifted to a content graph in terms of use. I have less than 60 people friended because I limit it to people I actually know and want to know what they're up to, and by and large they're people that aren't constantly sharing memes, videos, or other crap. Of course, this means that I can check it out once a week and that's enough to keep up with everything, which doesn't make Facebook money.

I believe the reason Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok grew the way they did was because the parents weren't on those apps. Even now we see that young people migrate to other platforms as their parents start paying attention to the current one.


In terms of monetization, isn't it more profitable to sell ads to decision-makers aka older people, than to kids and teens?


Depends on whether you’re focused on immediate sales or building long-term brand image. The old person may only have one car purchase left in their lifetime; the 14-year-old could have six or more.


These decision makers can be way tougher and more expensive to convince.

I don’t want to buy the next card game booster pack in any way or form. I don’t care about theme parks I’ve never heard of, or the new game that lets me save a half naked hottie. And for that matter I also won’t change for a new car insurance.

Now, someone in my life pushing for the formers might force my hand.


Ads targeting kids and teens actually tend to do very well. There's an entire side of youtube where kids review their new (sponsored) toys. Parents get immensely pressured when they feel their kids are getting left out.


Facebook was never ever about the Social Graph. It was always about user profiling and activity/interest monitoring which could be sold to advertisers. The Social Graph was just one tool for that.

Coincidentally the profiling is also extremely useful for political leverage and behaviour mod. I'm sure that never occurred to anyone around the company, and the links to operations like AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica are incidental among the ad noise.

The incoming anti-trust cases are going to be interesting.


That is right in terms of the business. For the consumer though, the Social Graph did (and does) have real utility. It just has zero business value now as it isn't even useful for the retargeting data.


Election years are big money years for the entire Ad industry. Political advertising is not something that a sane Advertising company will ignore.


Facebook has basically been a magical money printing machine for political fundraising. Put a dollar in with a nice outrageous ad and get two back in donations.


I really do miss the utility apps of the early 2000s that went social. I'm travelling soon and want to re-visit a restaurant I went to some time ago and none of the apps on my phone will make it easy to look up where it was I ate before. When I was living abroad in the early 2000s, the social apps like Foursquare made that kind of utility-to-me feature fun and useful.

FB, as a social platform, is moving away from being a social app. Same thing happened to other social apps. The original utility they had in the early days was subsumed by social, which is now being subsumed by something else. The original utility can't be found anywhere... it was dragged down into the depths and drowned.

In some ways, my iPhone now is less useful to me than it was before. I can look things up in the moment, but in terms of connecting me to my past activities -- not so much.


Better to check in on Google Maps rather than Foursquare so you keep your history when the small companies pivot away or abandon the service. It is bizarre to me that Foursquare didn’t keep it going though


Only if you're a marketer and see others as little more than consumers. Next thing to burn is commoditization of "content" as the young see through the nonsense and reach out for sincerity.

There are mountains of quality information online and while I would absolutely resent having to grow up in the age of social media, the kids are way better at parsing and questioning rapid onslaughts of information because of the tribulations there.

They get caught up for a while, but the guise wears away. Young people can easily see outside their immediate world, and any adopted worldview, unlike we've ever known. When I was growing up that meant a lonely kid wandering down to the library to flip through magazines from the big city to inject some new ideas into one's world. Now, young people from anywhere can dig into the most arcane of information and worldviews in seconds and begin integrating them earlier on in their lives.

The world will look very different in outlook in a short amount of time, and it will not be for the sake of "content". Just gimme some truth, all I want is some truth.


Agree with most of this, but I'm curious where Facebook groups fit in here. We recently moved to Florida and have been scrambling to find non-religious home school friends for our daughter (homeschooling because of Covid). Facebook has been pretty much only resource available, and I've joined a number of local groups that have proved somewhat helpful. I'm wondering whether groups may provide a level of stickiness and user retention that the timeline may not?


Facebook Groups and Marketplace are both good examples of content graphs. Your social network is irrelevant to them, in fact you may prefer NOT to see the listings made by your friends/family as the negotiation/purchasing is often nicer when it is relatively anonymous. Facebook's one moat is very shallow in this space.

Unlike high attention media with placement and interstitial opportunities, Marketplace and Groups are not great business models.


The social network graphs of the people contributing to e.g. a local group or marketplace helps in making sure that people behave somewhat honestly, I've found. At least in locales with like < 5k people.


> have been scrambling to find non-religious home school friends for our daughter

Why do they have to be non-religious?


Why ask why? That’s their stated preference.


Because I’m curious. Why ask any question? Is it a hard question to answer?


Like a more friendlier Reddit?


> Almost nobody wants to see what their friends are doing online anymore.

Fact. I unfollowed pretty much every person connected to me on facebook, and now my feed consists primarily of posts from 'This cat is C H O N K Y', 'Foods with threatening auras,' and the like. Huge quality of life improvement, second only to basically never using Facebook at all.


well, chonky cats are always a QOL improvement (-:


I’m personally more interested in the food with threatening auras. That sounds…interesting


One reason the Metaverse bothers me so much is a) because it's related to the company in general calling itself Meta, which itself is most likely a smokescreen to distract from the company's negative image and b) because it includes all the properties Zuckerberg has directly lied about and made worse - notice how the Instagram people left after conflicts with Zuckerberg, how Whatsapp users are forced into data sharing with Facebook, how suddenly you need a Facebook for the Oculus - if Meta/Metaverse was a conglomeration of home grown properties, in-house, or at worst previously competitive products that neverthelss they did a good job with and fostered to grow, and weren't annoying to use, and didn't pull bait and switch - why, sure, this Metaverse thing might seem like a pretty neat idea. As it stands, not only is Zuckerberg's vision of a utopia "copy and kill everyone else" but Meta/Metaverse is directly using basically stolen properties ("let's buy up these guys to destroy the competition")



Feels like Yahoo in the days it realized it was losing the search arms race to Google and Microsoft. There was this uneasy sense of the underlying seismic shift and that the game had changed and you didn't have the best hand.


Yep, you nailed it. TikTok is hitting Facebook and they are unable to respond. May be they will by copying the algorithm but things are going to get worse before they improve. Not sure if they will change Facebook itself though. That is too entrenched and too many users to change. This is going to be tough for fb to fight.


Facebook replaced the phone book. In the 1990s it was difficult to find someone's contact information. With Google, you can find a way to contact someone, find their email. With everyone having smartphones you can find a way to get a text message to someone.


Interesting: is it possible that this shift towards the content graph has something to do with a more active approach to content moderation? I mean, if your whacky aunt says something on covid, then it seems that he gets a nice label and that his message are propagated to a smaller number of his friends. Is it possible that all these moderation mechanisms have had a ripple effect on the entire network? I mean is it possible that the active stance on content moderation (some call it censorship) has caused the shift towards the content graph versus the social graph? In other words: if they choose to show less content by your whacky aunts, then they still need to fill the timeline with something, so welcome to the content graph!

I mean to say that a change of editorial policy in a given media outlet is often related to a change of political direction; is that the case?

Funny aspect: big tech wants to obtan some real influence and weight in society, so they introduce more censorship as a means of obtaining this weight. Now incidentially this erodes their base, as their clients loose interest in the toy, and start to use something else instead.


I would listen to your podcast.


Honestly the reason I use facebook still is to consume content from people I don't know, facebook groups are the only social thing left on the website, and the rest of it I use for fb marketplace which at least in my area has totally stolen the spotlight from craigslist.


The reason Facebook is losing, is because they're boxing with two hands behind their back. They're blocked by de facto anti-trust from ever acquiring their relevant competitors.

Acquisitions are a critical instrument for large corporations in terms of competition. TikTok's parent, ByteDance, is not restricted by such problems despite how massive they are, for example.

ByteDance is a $400 billion market cap company that doesn't have to play the game the same way Facebook does despite the fact that they're clearly competing in the same tier of scale now.

And that's not a statement of woe-is-Facebook, nobody should feel bad for Facebook, it's just the fact of the real context they're stuck with and their giant competitor is not.


>> Acquisitions are a critical instrument for large corporations in terms of competition. TikTok's parent, ByteDance, is not restricted by such problems despite how massive they are, for example.

Don’t forget the US came perilously close to banning TikTok last year. As much as Facebook probably doesn’t have the US government on their side, it’s more on their side that TikTok’s.


It seems like it should be easy for FB to pivot to the content graph. Their ability to serve relevant ads is unrivaled. They should be able to do the same with content. Old people buy stuff and love FB. MLM people love Instagram and buy stuff. FB should just roll out a new short video platform, pay influencers a lot to join, and use their algorithm to recommend the best content.


Bizarre how Tiktok went from being a Chinese sovereign state/public enemy that was going to be 'bought' by Oracle/Walmart but is now starting to destroy the 2nd gen social networks, the original concern. I've assumed for a while FB was being sunset'd/Yahoo'd to prep for a next gen surveillance capitalism engine but the TT Chinese data mining allowance continues to surprise. Meanwhile the 'off' platforms - Rumble etc - continue to expand, and given Trump's vast small donation $100m+ war chest it seems likely there will increasingly politicized factional networks very soon


I wouldn't mind if the CCP wants to own all the garbage content on tiktok as a tactic against us, as long as people are aware of the nonsense hosted on there.

Thanks, @libsoftiktok.


I think at this point 'Groups' are single-handedly keeping fb alive.


I deleted my FB account and the only thing that I went back for was my residents association. I still have no FB friends - which is fun because I can see the algorithm trying to work out who I know. Eerily, it correctly identified my partner and suggests I friend her (and her mother!) every time I login.


> Eerily, it correctly identified my partner and suggests I friend her (and her mother!) every time I login.

That doesn’t seem that eerie to me. Your partner is most likely logging in from the same IP, and perhaps your mother-in-law has done the same at least once, or is friended to your partner. Making this association is pretty straightforward


This would seem reasonable, but in the UK we commonly have carrier grade NAT, which is to say I share an IP with really rather a lot of people. It'd be interesting to see if that was the case. Maybe I'll send a subject access request.


> They are going to try to do a few things. One is to anti-trust Apple (in the media at least), and the other is to hand wave (Metaverse).

What does 'hand wave' mean in this context?


As in 'slight of hand' employed by a magician. Where someone makes an obvious movement to distract from something they don't want you to see. In this case, the assertion is that the Metaverse is more hype than reality. A shiny object, or concept, to create a plausible narrative that bridges Facebook into a future where they once again dominate, while distracting from the possibility that their current position is in decline with no tangible mitigation plan.


Maybe it’s becoming a major media source?

You know, like your on-demand TV channel that knows what you want, already.


And I'll watch that TV with my 3D glasses.


i believe this is true but it is not reflected in the public earnings at all.

User growth in the US may be flat but earnings per US/CA active user is up which implies that the value is here and growing for users in the US/CA




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