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FB feed is 98% suggested pages and barely any friends' posts (reddit.com)
775 points by Erikun on Sept 13, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 443 comments



Yes it’s a negative feedback loop created by the very bad product decisions they made to optimize for local maxima of getting more ads revenue. You inject more and more ads followed by more and more suggested content, thereby reducing the in network content. The in network content doesn’t get as much of traction, therefore people stop posting. This in turn forces the feed to have more and more suggestions and a few stale in network posts from days ago. This drives engagement down from people who want to see in network content and they leave. So what is left is people who do engage with suggested content, pushing the product to make decisions to push even more suggested content. All of this continues till eventually fatigue sets in and a sudden rapid drop in engagement kicks in because your global maxima of a quality product was lost long time ago and your product dies.


No, this isn't a consequence of the status quo newsfeed algorithm. This is a consequence of Facebook making a purposeful strategic shift away from in-network content to suggested content. This strategic shift was highlighted in their last earnings call as a way to compete with TikTok, whose success is partly explained by their focus on suggested content. On the earnings call, they signaled that they were shifting more to a mix of the two content styles in the coming quarters, but the OP is likely enrolled in some sort of test that is giving them 98%.

See the below excerpt from Meta's Q2 earnings call:

"One of the main transformations in our business right now is that social feeds are going from being driven primarily by the people and accounts you follow to increasingly also being driven by AI recommending content that you'll find interesting from across Facebook or Instagram, even if you don't follow those creators. Social content from people you know is going to remain an important part of the experience and some of our most differentiated content. But increasingly, we'll also be able to supplement that with other interesting content from across our networks. Reels is one part of this trend that focuses on the growth of short-form video as a content format."


Yes, here is a chronology of key events:

2020 — Facebook launches its TikTok rival, Instagram Reels: https://www.axios.com/2020/08/05/facebook-launches-its-tikto...

2021 — TikTok overtakes Facebook as world's most downloaded app: https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Technology/TikTok-overtakes...

Feb. 2022 — Facebook loses users for the first time in its history — https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/02/02/faceboo...

July 2022 — Facebook and Instagram are going to show even more posts from accounts you don’t follow — https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/27/23281451/facebook-instagr...

July 2022 — Instagram knows you don’t like its changes. It doesn’t care. — https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/07/27/instagr...


Mid-2021, I stop using FB for anything beyond Marketplace.

Mid-2022, I find Instagram to be just as useless as FB.

I find I'm spending far less time on big social platforms. And a little more time in niche web forums. And I mostly feel better (sanity-wise) for it.


>Mid-2021, I stop using FB for anything beyond Marketplace.

The only things I find FB useful for are Marketplace and Messenger. Marketplace is an OK way to sell your junk locally (it basically took over from Craigslist because CL was taken over by scammers and CL never bothered to do anything about it), and Messenger is a convenient glorified phone book and chat app which has a video chat feature that actually works quite well through any browser and doesn't require a local client application like Zoom. It's also really convenient that it works through both my phone and through a browser on my PC, so it's easy to switch back and forth (much easier to type messages on a PC, for instance).


Discord has completely displaced the need for other social media in my experience. And they get hundreds of dollars per year from me. If this isn’t a winning model, I don’t know what is.


It's a winning model.

Who would have thought that paying for something is correlated with positive expectation of outcome?

Someone should formalise this business model.

I'm just spitballing, but I might call it: Doing business.

I'm not sure what's going on with internet ads.

I've blocked them everywhere I can.


It's a failure out of the box for me, as it silo's information and once a server is gone so is that info.

The gatekeepers on some of the more popular gaming servers (where they know they are more necessary than usual) are reddit levels.


People focusing on the winning model are missing that none of the platforms fill identical social roles imo even if they copy features from eachother and that digitally immersed users seem to prefer it this way. I strongly doubt that TikTok would have been improved with the full feature set of Facebook even if it might benefit from integrative features for example. Discord in a similar fashion is where I go for real-ish time talk with friends or gamemates. Both of these are very different than Instagram which has largely become what my wall once was on Facebook but not to be confused for Facebook itself where I go to talk with people who aren't very cyber savvy and by extension join Groups targeted at non-cyber savvy demographics (like my HoA's group)


Discord is completely useless for socializing with anyone who isn't in the IT industry. My mom, for instance, is NOT going to use Discord, but I can get her to use Facebook Messenger.


Not just older folks, young people who don't game regularly don't bother to check it either. The UI makes it quite hard to find people on there, nobody uses real names, profile pictures are random game/anime characters...


I have 50% success. Mom is on discord in our family channel, but dad isn't.


A few things that make Discord unfeasible for general purpose messaging...

The need to host a server somewhere. It silos info, makes that info less permanent and less findable. I've gone to all iDevices at home, so can't self-host.

It also doesn't have great visibility outside the tech worker and gaming worlds. I'm happy to use it if somebody sends me a link, but it's not the default for most people I know (except for those that game). Slack is a bit more common, mostly because of broad adoption at workplaces.


Maybe? Beuller?


> This is a consequence of Facebook making a purposeful strategic shift away from in-network content to suggested content.

In an ironic twist these changes has made it much easier for me to stop using Facebook and Instagram. My usage was never high to begin with but some people in my life only used those apps and I wanted to stay connected. Now every single time I visit either of those apps and I see suggested content I close the app and move on with my day.


Bad strategy, imo. Sounds like they should have tried to answer why people used their product in the first place. “A competitor does it” isn’t a valid excuse—its like suggesting The French Laundry switch to fast food because McDonald’s is a competitor.


I think your analogy is too generous. It’s more like putting an engine on your stapler because people buy cars more often than staplers at a higher margin despite having a monopoly in the stapler market.


They also need to be honest with themselves about whether TikTok is a competitor, or if TT has simply won a completely different business that happens to take customers' finite resources (time) from Facebook.


I think it's pretty cleat cut. They're competing attention farms. How we the product perceive them doesn't matter.


When you're an ads-funded social media company, is there a difference?


The French Laundry is a very niche product, which Facebook is not. I think a more apt analogy is suggesting McDonald's to include more "healthy" options or a coffee bar because the competitors do it and it's a successful business strategy.


More liking pushing "healthy" options in your face in the menu and hiding the BigMac & Co in some obscure small print somewhere.

"Do you want plus sized carrots with your meal?"


Not saying either is a good strategy, I'd rather see more posts from my friends than random pages. Just pointing out the analogy.


Facebook is the fax machine.

The real danger FB finds themselves in is that the initial value prop (make and maintain your friendships with less friction) is LONG gone.

Instead, they are relying almost entirely on the network effect now. You have to be on Facebook because your grandma is on Facebook. This is not sustainable long-term, for obvious and perhaps morbid reasons.


Since 2012, when I "deleted" my Facebook account grandma - or anybody else for that manner - needs to either call me, text me or send email.

This suits me just fine and it works well for friends who actually deserve this moniker.


Anecdotally, I don't think this reflects reality.

A 'strategic shift' to present suggested content may be what Facebook wants to do (or would like to tell investors it is doing).

However, the amount of real content being posted appears to have fallen off a cliff. This is obviously very subjective but holds true for both my own experience and friends/family who have commented.

So there isn't just a similar level of content but the algorithm is displaying less - but literally everyone I know no longer posts to Facebook in remotely the same way.

The only time I see regular updates are 'happy birthday' posts.

Everything else has moved to other apps - mostly Instagram stories.


The drop in real content is astounding. It used to be the case that I’d never ever come close to the end of the content from people I actually follow when I checked Instagram, and 5-6 years ago I interacted with the app daily. (Note: I deleted my FB account 7 years ago but kept insta).

Now I’m in my early thirties and I maybe open it two or three times a week — I hit the “you’ve run out of content from your friends” message in less than five minutes (and I follow ~400 people). It’s even worse because half of that five minutes is spent scrolling past the INSANE number of ads and suggested posts (most of which are terrible ads as well).

My friends are still actively posting “stories,” but I can’t imagine that will last forever (stories are also littered with ads, it’s insane).

Facebook has been out of ideas for a while, but it wasn’t so apparent until recently since they faced relatively soft competition, and they either acquired popular social media start ups or if they couldn’t, stole from them wholesale (snapchat). They now have a real competitor in TikTok and on the last earnings call it became clear they have no plan for regaining users / organic engagement, so they’ve decided to pump the short term financials by serving everyone a shit load of ads. Facebook’s long term prospects are bleak imo.


Has anyone kept track of the number of times they shifted the Facebook newsfeed algorithm?

At different point in time, the feed prioritized: posts from friends, posts from games from your friends, friends' sharing of links to compete with Twitter, videos to compete with Youtube, moments to compete with Snapchat, comments that friends made, posts from friends again as growth slows down

I wonder what percentage of users drift off every time they shifted the algorithm.


The difference of course is that TikTok's suggested content is generally relevant.

My entire suggested feed relates to US politics. I keep getting suggestions for Second Amendment groups, "Stand your Ground" groups, pro life groups, "Isn't she beautiful" (a gun lobby group), "Texans for God" and so on. I'm Australian. I guess this is what I get for doing an occasional checkin at a place named Texas BBQ.


> but the OP is likely enrolled in some sort of test that is giving them 98%.

Couldn't it just be that suggested content is not only placed "between" in-network posts to achieve a certain minimum ratio, but also some small number of suggested-content posts are inserted at a constant drip into your feed (e.g. every N minutes in the feed's timeline) to ensure a certain minimum absolute amount of advertising happens per day per account?

Which would mean that, if all your friends are people who don't post very much on FB any more, there could be 50 dripped in suggested-content posts (to achieve the minimum absolute suggested posts per day) for each one in-network post.

Even without "ensuring a minimum absolute amount of advertising", I presume this would have to be happening on some level, to ensure that anyone who tries to use Facebook "like TikTok" (effectively an RSS reader for suggested content), ends up with a non-empty feed.


It makes sense tho for them to go for suggested content, because the can make you like stuff. That's their thing. It's no random thing they've been hiring psyops veterans of the afghanistan war. They can push things


I think the crux is do users want to see in-network or out-of-network posts?

FB's bet (that tiktok user behavior validates) is high quality out-of-network creates higher engagement than in-network content.


Sounds a lot like Google Search results. It’s almost as if advertising dollars are an addictive drug that ultimately kills the company.


I'm not sure it's the advertising dollars that are addictive as much as it is "growth". To keep the stock price up you have sustain a PE that reflects revenue growth, and once you are done signing up new users... Well... Something's got to give.

I see the ads as a lot like cutting timber out of a finite forest - it's profitable, but potentially harmful to the ecosystem in a way that can make it unsustainable. As long as you don't cut too much, replant aggressively, then you can make a sustainable business out of it - but it doesn't scale past the point where your harm to the ecosystem causes collapse. Once people exit FB because it's all ads, then the network benefits begin to evaporate, a little bit at first, then all at once...

Then again I don't run a social media company, so what do I know. ;-)


>Then again I don't run a social media company, so what do I know. ;-)

Maybe not a little as you think. Just because the social media companies are "runing", running into the ground is still running. They just have so much momentum that the ship is going to keep moving along.


> To keep the stock price up you have sustain a PE that reflects revenue growth, and once you are done signing up new users... Well... Something's got to give.

Facebook need to just settle back and offer dividends. It's over.


Amazon seems to have taken a different route.

Keep margins low and don’t make too much money in order to starve any potential competitors of capital.

Of course - you still need to grow revenue for this to work - just not profits.


Doesn't help that their recommendations are always "Oh, you bought an air conditioner? Come look at this wide variety of other air conditioners we have!" rather than, say, adapters for connecting air conditioners to different window types or home electricity usage monitoring or something.


This is a common complaint. The reason they do it is because... it works!

It can be counter-intuitive but this is often seen in recommendation systems. In music for example, the song most likely to be played after a song is... that same song again.


It may work in the general case.

However, it is painfully clear that there are very obvious categories of products that it does not work on. 99% of the time, if someone buys a refrigerator, they will not be interested in buying another refrigerator.

It would not be that difficult for Amazon to detect these product types and give other kinds of recommendations for them. Unless their algorithms and the data that drive them are much, much less comprehensive than they want us to believe.


Nope, even with items like fridges it's intentional.

Most people have not bought a fridge in the last month. Most people will not buy one in the next month. Taking your estimated 99%, that leaves 1% who just bought a fridge but it doesn't work, or didn't fit their room, or for whatever other reason they've sent it for a refund... and are about to want a fridge again!

1% might sound low, but if you look at the group of people who haven't just bought a fridge... maybe only 0.1% of them will buy one in the next year, vs. that suddenly huge-seeming 1% of recent fridge buyers. Suddenly, not such a bad idea to advertise to them :)


But if I've bought a fridge from Amazon, and it doesn't work, surely the first thing I'm going to do is try to return it to Amazon?

Most people, after all, don't really have the spare money to buy two fridges at once, so they're going to want their money back from the first one before they buy the second.

Once they've started the return process, then Amazon can start recommending new fridges to them.

Again: this is all data Amazon totally has access to. Whether they are failing to gather it, failing to recognize its value, or simply choosing not to use it when they know it's creating a lot of bad recommendations, is unclear.


I'd guess fridges are annoying enough to be without one that many people who can afford, either through having cash or access to a credit card, would indeed be willing to pay for the second fridge while waiting a few days for the first fridge to ship back and be processed before they get the refund.

Or maybe by the time they've fully made up their mind to return the fridge, it's often after they've first decided there is indeed a better fridge out there, and already chosen where to buy it in the day or two before they start a return. In which case the time to advertise to them would be the window after purchase and before initiating a return.

Maybe... etc.

I don't know for sure, having neither worked at Amazon nor tried to market fridges. But I have seen many examples of this sort of retargeting of people who've just bought something with ads of the same type of thing, where general intuition, even that of experienced marketers yet alone normal shoppers, made it seem like a dumb idea and yet the data actually did prove it was a great use of advertising.

So maybe your gut instinct is better than the ad conversion predictions Amazon's code is making, with all their data. But I'd be surprised.


>Again: this is all data Amazon totally has access to. Whether they are failing to gather it, failing to recognize its value, or simply choosing not to use it when they know it's creating a lot of bad recommendations, is unclear.

I'm not sure as to their reasoning. But maybe this decision is in fact based on their data? They're a pretty data driven company


Or the random notifications I get on my phone from Amazon: "We thought you'd like a new air fryer." I bought one 6 months ago from you, I don't need a new one.

Somehow it's always about some big appliance that lasts years and I just bought. It's never about "you might be running out of toilet paper."


It seems to me that Amazon has the same problem, but with their physical products instead of ads. Cheap junk, fakes, and scams pushed up sales for a while, but then people give up on the site and go to other sources that are perceived to be more reputable.


This is most of why I stopped using Amazon entirely.


If our profit-uber-alles capitalist model has nothing to restrain it... it raises the question - is the growth benign or malignant?


If the logging analogy holds, then I don't think this is purely an issue of profits above all - it's more an issue of short-termism. If you are Facebook, you could reasonably stay relevant, focus on content quality, and shift to a profit model that looks a lot more like Morton Salt's - steady as she goes. In the long run, sans other goals, that might be the rational thing to do.

On the other hand, if you are looking to preserve stock price in the short-term you need to at least create the illusion of sustainable revenue growth. And there is a lot to be said for this later strategy if you don't really want to run Facebook in maintenance phase. Seems that Mark and Co. might not be all that concerned about "deforesting" Facebook with ads because the end game here is the Metaverse...?...


Exactly. By adding more and more ads, their own widgets, and pushing down smaller sites in the search results to favor brands, Google made it very hard for smaller sites with user-generated content to grow and profit organically. And then fewer people searched for them or expected to find them.

I’m kind of enjoying the fact that newer sites and apps like Discord don’t let Google index them after Google killed off a large part of the independent Internet. We’re missing out on a lot of good content that would be put up in an alternate universe with a less greedy and shortsighted Google.


Users click more on big brands. The average internet user doesn’t want to browse hobby websites, they use the top 10 sites and never leave them. Accept it. Some of them never leave only Reddit or TikTok.


Cynical proclamations tend to sound authoritative, but that’s not the same as being true. Sources?


I was interested as well, but couldn't find anything specifically answering the question. According to the link below social media, email and watching videos counts for about three-quarters of most people's internet usage, which could easily mean they spend most time on just three or four sites. The two smallest categories - searching and shopping - could also just mean Google and Amazon for the most part, so it's the "Surfing content (19%)" that's ambiguous... although even then I assume that Google is a big part of that, and otherwise surfing for content is pretty much the opposite of visiting a site regularly, although I guess it probably includes news websites, which probably are a regular visit.

I'd guess that it is possible most people visit a dozen or fewer websites regularly, of which half a dozen or so are in the Top 10, and the rest include things like news/media sites that are most likely to be popular (if only nationally). Seems likely the older the person the narrower range of things they do online, apparently the most common activities for the over-60s are email and checking the weather lol.

https://www.creditloan.com/blog/how-the-world-spends-its-tim...


Never thought I’d see the day, but I actually use Yandex for image search now because they basically deliver the google image search experience of a decade ago. While Google Images has had no one with Vision in charge and been tweaked, buffed and downgraded to the point of uselessness. And you can tell no one on the team actually uses it.

Google Search could honestly be dethroned if someone really wanted to. The usage at this point is habit, not because it’s still a good search engine.


I've noticed recently Google image search has gotten surprisingly terrible for some things. I use Bing image search when the Google image search lets me down. Haven't tried Yandex.


Yandex in particular is good with reverse image search is the main thing that won me over. It uses the same system Google used before they replaced it with machine learning and made it useless.

Google Image search these days seems to be "Oh that image you sent me is an Apple, here are pictures of other Apples" rather than showing me other sizes of the same image, and other images that are very similar looking.


I still weekly make the mistake to try to find something that I know to exist. Sometimes I know there are hundreds of pages on the topic. I type query after query, again and again, nothing shows up. It's like in the 90's, I tell stories about.. I forget his name and the place, when it happened but it was something like this and that. pfft!

edit: I just attempted to look up what kind of taxes on has to pay if one receives donations. I cant carve out a query that gives me anything other than tax deductible donations. The "receiving" part is completely ignored.


I find it very fascinating: I'm in Switzerland, and the 4th result to [what kind of taxes on has to pay if one receives donations] links me to a good result: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/money-received-through-crowdfun....

But when I connect to Google on VPN "from the US", I can't find it in the first 3 pages. Very strange.


I agree. More generally, any business model where your users and your customers are disjoint sets will cause a misalignment of interests that generates an ever-increasing negative feedback loop. It seems like it can take a long time to play out though.


Except Search volume and MAUs are still growing like a weed, whereas FB's growth has slowed dramatically.

Search is not perfect, for sure. It has different problems.


For those annyoyed with ads on Google search, Kagi [1] is worth trying. It's not free, but does not show ads and uses the Google index behind the scenes. I've been using it on desktop for few months and have no complaints.

[1] https://kagi.com/


> uses the Google index behind the scenes

Does it give better results than Google? I find Google's results to be pretty horrible, and worry that if Kagi is using Google's index, then I wouldn't get better results with them.


It does give better results. The filters can also be quite powerful.

The problem is paying a steep fee to proxy Google's index... It benefits you and Kagi in the short term, but strengthens the Google/Bing/Yandex index oligopoly [0] long term. Bad search results are the symptom - scarcity and opaqueness of viable indices is the root cause

https://seirdy.one/posts/2021/03/10/search-engines-with-own-...


> but strengthens the Google/Bing/Yandex index oligopoly

The way we look at it as that it gives Google a non-ad based source of revenue, which is a good thing for the future of the web. If one day that revenue could displace all ad-based revenue, by Google selling data to providers like Kagi, we would reverse the current state of the web.


--that coupled with inability to realize that blasting ads at people doesnt make your product look better, it makes your product a source of frustration, and a daily/hourly annoyance, your product is associated with bad, and is avoided.

the answer to the problem includes the concept of less is more.


Not really since no one’s cares about the annoyances-if they did no company would run ads but the exact opposite is true


>no one cares about the annoyances

Then why is adblocking so popular?


But at least now a few MBAs can put "increased revenue at Meta by X%" on their resume!


It actively makes the product worse. E.g. from yesterday, if I search for "high tc record," I'm not looking for the set of bedsheets with the greatest number of threads.


In fairness, reading your search term, I had no idea what you were talking about so it's not entirely surprising the organic content producers don't match those terms well. Looks like the SEO folks do though.


> Looks like the SEO folks do though.

Pretty sure at least 80% (probably 95%+) of low-quality SEO content is generated by computers, or at least by very low-skill outsourced labor in a machine-assisted way.

It then makes sense that the mature Internet can probably match any search query in a manner that leads to a site that sells something vaguely matching the query, through sheer quantity of available content.

In other words - there is enough SEO content generated and indexed that most queries will be able to be monetized by a search engine like Google.



What are we looking for here? The results seem equally as confusing as the query


Tc is the high temperature for superconductivity. I noticed this about google a long time ago - they started "dumbing" down their search results. Don't blame them because that's where the money is, but it is annoying when you're searching for something and the results are full of celebrities because someone famous happened to say something like your search term.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-temperature_superconducti...


The other commenter was obviously interested in the record for high-temperature superconductors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-temperature_superconducti...

Or perhaps more generally for materials with a high Curie temperature, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curie_temperature

Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about this field.


Then again, Tc means different things in different fields. E.g. critical temperatures for all kinds of critical phase transitions. Note that the google search you posted above gives results for various phase transitions many of which are not superconducting phase transitions. I also was lost when I saw the original query.


Google is supposed to be able to understand this given how much data they collect on individuals and the web.


Perhaps there are multiple groups searching with the same terms, but expecting completely different results. Google takes its best guess at which group you're in. To get better at that they have to gather more info about you personally. I'd prefer to change my search query than give lots of extra personal data to Google.


if I search for "high tc record," I'm not looking for the set of bedsheets with the greatest number of threads.

FWIW, I would also have no idea what that search is supposed to return.


But you don't have a 20-year dossier of almost every web site he's visited; a list of 90% of his credit card purchases; an AI scrutinizing every photo he's ever been in that's been in, or in the background of, on the internet; a list of his previous searches; and a list of the places he's brought his cell phone.

To improve user experience.


Google says it spends about 0.3Wh per search, of which roughly one third is for scraping and two thirds for the search. I think you may be overestimating how much processing they could do with that budget (assuming they want to do that significant user-based tweaking, which is IMO not a given).


Ken Liu's "The Perfect Match" is a sci-fi short story about this topic.

https://gizmodo.com/lightspeed-presents-the-perfect-match-by...


> high tc record

I don't know what you are trying to search for. A record for total compensation? Something related to Tesla coils? Turing Complete? Thread Count is a totally valid interpretation.


My next single, High TC, doesn't come out for another month. You'll be able to search for it then.


I have no idea what you are expecting from "high tc record"

I'm getting links about the highest temperature on earth and it is listing it in Fahrenheit so if the "tc" means "temperature celsius" it is failing for me.

All the other links are about high temperature superconductors.



These are the top 2 links I get

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highest_temperature_recorded_o...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-temperature_superconducti...

"High-temperature superconductors (abbreviated high-Tc"

Seems like google search is working quite well if the second link is what the person wanted.


You know you spend/have spent too much time on Blind when you immediately think "TC" means "total compensation."


It’s the resource curse in corporate form


Which companies were killed by ads?


Tumblr - banned 18+ content in 2018(?) in an attempt to make their site more advertiser-friendly and lost most of their userbase within a couple of months. Site was thriving before that.


This is a dishonest answer. Tumblr died because it’s niche was adult content. Banning your niche is choosing to fail.


It doesn't seem dishonest to me; chasing those ad dollars are what led to the supremely stupid decision of banning one of their core niches.


We are talking about platforms where the ads themselves caused users to leave. This is not what happened with Tumblr and it is not a good faith view to say so.


I only see you attempting to constrain the topic that far, rather than just the ways that advertising based models in general can pervert a company's incentives by turning away their core user base. Sometimes it's just changing the UX until your userbase no longer wants to show up. Sometimes it's literally just banning a huge chunk of your userbase for some reason.


it's a good thing Marissa Mayer came in to buy Tumblr as a strategic acquisition for Yahoo! for 1 Billion dollars (after Tumblr imploded).


Yahoo comes to mind.


Digg?


Or maybe profit is an addictive drug that kills the company


LinkedIn went through the same algorithm led spiral of decline.

Initially, they seemed to stop pushing out good on topic content. Instead, they rewarded and promoted Facebook style posts and made up stories probably due to metrics and A/B tests.

The good authentic posters then either stopped posting or had to feed the beast by pushing out the same crappy content in the house style which the algorithm rewards.

Almost everyone on there now is writing purely for the algorithm and not their industry peers whether they realise that or not. They are just chasing the doamine hit of likes.

The product is worse for it and I’m sure it ultimately kills the golden goose for social platforms despite a short term uplift. They become much less engaging and sticky when the social element is lost.


When LinkedIn arrived, it seemed like a good idea -- sort of a way for people who aren't great at networking to see how to expand their network. Then, like any dating site, you needed to buy credits to participate, and only "players" are willing to do that. Then, they erased any additional value brought by their thought leaders by promoting third-rate content with catchy headlines like you mentioned. Now, why would I trust them with my resume? And if I have no interest in them, likely anything else on there is either out of date or some sort of lie.

Friendster, Myspace, Orkut, Facebook.... Similar things for social. Use the network to find more people to hang out with, feel less alone. But then, again, that is not actually a business and people aren't paying for it. So, you either show generic ads (not a bad idea) or you get people to pay to get their content in front of you. But then people stop caring about what they see there and move on.

I agree with other posters -- I used to keep Facebook around because my family was there. Now I don't even see their posts when I'm on it. So, there's no value anymore.


I treat LinkedIn as I treated Facebook: a way to keep in touch with people you know or once knew, as a way to keep track of a list of these people, and as an easily findable public handle. For Facebook, it was of course less oriented towards money making.

Now LinkedIn still does the same job. As far as I’m concerned, while “thought leaders” and other spam is more prominent, dealing with egos is the price to pay for making it easier to find a job, and to be found as a candidate. It’s not materially different to IRL corporate world.


I'd also add that the optimizing the timeline for engagement (including negative engagement & arguments) wound up making me quit the platform entirely. There were no positive interactions, just deeply unpleasant arguments with people spewing vitriol.

Like ... why would I stay on a platform that was so deeply unpleasant to interact with all the time?


It's an interesting exercise to think about:

suppose you're in the meeting room and you're the product guy and you'll make this case. Indeed let us not optimize for the presently advantageous local maxima lest it come back to swallow and end us. How is this communicated? And what does it take to convincingly persuade people, or investors of this -- to even bear through a temporary downward period with the understanding that fundamentals must be respected?


>And what does it take to convincingly persuade people, or investors of this

As long as their top priority is next quarter's result, you can't. You may get small wins here and there, but nothing fundamental will change unless they have a long term vision. When I say "long term", I'm talking 10 - 20 years, not 1 year.


Convince on vision, not data.

They didn’t build the iPhone or even like Google Maps and Google Images by walking into the meeting room with data. They instead said “what if maps were as easy as we’ve made search”

Of course it becomes a problem when no one even to the CEO level has lost vision. Never put the numbers guy in charge.


From my comprehension of Mad Men? You hire a PR firm to convince those investors and decision people, to sell them an idea instead of KPIs.

It can go both ways, of course: Mad Men is full of examples of stupid business ideas that went spectacularly wrong. And while it wasn’t the focus of Mad Men, the real world is full of examples of business that went the metrics way and were successful.

But IMHO, if I was the CEO of a social media company, I sure wouldn’t focus on A/B testing and engagement metrics.


It's not just the ad revenue or suggested content. FB's most sticky offerings are groups and pages. Well, FB actively hides posts in these to their own followers. You end up having to pay just sponsor messages to your own group.


I quit FB a few years ago when I realized the suggested posts were just way more interesting than anything my friends posted. Idk what that says about their algorithm. Or my friends.


Instagram turned into being what Facebook was supposed to be.


and now it's moving away from that and pushing more suggested content.

The death spiral is:

1. Show friends content to attract users

2. Realize that friends don't product enough content to increase engagement.

3. Start introducing suggested content to increase engagement

4. Friend stop producing content since their content is deprioritized and not getting engagement

5. Now your feed is full of suggested content and isn't interesting any more

6. You leave and find another platform


Almost like building a business around “engagement” is a model that leads to a death spiral. Social media sites are basically giant MLM schemes that sell the idea that become real companies before the scheme runs out.


> “engagement” is a model that leads to a death spiral

Good article on that point: https://rosie.land/posts/stop-measuring-community-engagement...


ahhh,,... I would say billions in revenue makes it anything but. A short lived idea, maybe, a novelty, maybe


Death spiral = short lived

MLMs make billions, but they are still MLMs.


Reminds me of Gresham's Law[1]: "Bad Money Drives Out Good".

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gresham%27s_law


I was going to disagree with the GP for the same reason you pointed out. I liked all the page and group posts because they were funny and not someone I haven't spoken to eight years planning their wedding in public. There aren't as many organic posts from my friends to share anymore.


This is basically the flaw in A/B testing


Slightly pedantic - this is a POSITIVE feedback loop, with an unwanted outcome. A negative feedback loop would be self correcting.


This is easily solved by having 'suggested content' (ads) once every (eg.) 10 posts from friends. 28 ads in a row is a total overkill


Crazy idea: FB should stop trying to lure people back from Tiktok with weird features and just lean in to its one remaining strength, which is that among social media sites, it's the most generic and boring and ubiquitous. Being the default place for non-influencers to do quotidian stuff like hearing about school closings, joining the PTA or HOA, coordinating family gatherings, see your nephew's school photos, etc would be a pretty good little business. And they already have all of that functionality built, so they could run significantly leaner, and hence not have to drive their remaining users away with excessive ads.

This seems like a good idea to me. But I also think it's about as likely to happen as President Stallman.


Marketplace is the only reason a lot of people still use the site. This is since especially true for people looking for beater cars since Craigslist started charging $5 to post ads for cars.

If Apple or someone else with an ax to grind with Facebook really wanted to bust Meta's kneecaps, they could off to subsidize this charge. Maybe also help them out with fraud and spam detection, since that's where most of the overhead on that section is going to come from.


That might be the reason for you, but there are many other reasons why people still use the site. For example, coordinating events with friends, discover local events, discussing on messenger, sharing photos, discussing in groups...


I hear this all the time but SMS/MMS/iMessage/whatever Android has does this just as well.


For cross-platform communication, Messenger/Whatsapp win over the above. (Telegram, Signal, etc in some circles).


The people using Marketplace are the people who wouldn't be using the site otherwise, and who are there for the express purpose of doing commerce. No one over 40 would be caught dead of facebook otherwise.


>No one over 40 would be caught dead of facebook otherwise.

Until their HOA or their sports club start using Facebook as their official platform for announcements and communication.

I know there are other free platform that could fill the same role, but you will never find one where literally more than half the adult population already has an account and is familiar with the interface/features. Lots of groups use it because it's the path of least resistance.


Enough people don't have or won't use facebook in 2022.

Email is still the lowest common denominator.


If you can get our town's PTA, or city hall, or childcare to use email more than they use Facebook, I will give you one thousand fucking dollars.

I can barely get my D&D group to reliably use emails to communicate, instead of group texts that usually include the entire group, but not always.


>Enough people don't have or won't use facebook in 2022.

It is top 3 most visited after google and youtube. Literally every other service/website you can imagine is worse in terms or popularity.

If >2.5B active monthly users is too low, I can't imagine that anything will ever be enough for you.


Source? This sounds like conjecture at its finest.


It's not conjecture. Just look at any form your fill out, from taxes, to medical, to employment. They all ask for your email address and not for your facebook url.


Taking an average of the various reports about Facbook usage in the US, about 70% of internet users use Facebook at least once per month.

Somewhere near 100% of internet users use email.

As ok123456 points out, there's a reason that you get asked for your email address and not your Facebook ID. Asking for Facebook leaves out a huge chunk of people.


Can you sign up with Facebook without an email? I know it asks for your phone number but not sure if it still requires an email.


It's funny how much projection people do when speaking of FB, as if their personal experience offers some deep insight into a platform of 3.5 billion users whose usage varies by user, demography and geography.


It's funny how people try to deny the simple truth that the site hasn't been fun to use in 15 years.


Whether or not it's fun doesn't isn't the primary driving factor in its continued popularity. People use it because other people use it. It got big and now has a network effect of inertia holding it in place until something else takes off and replaces it.


Then, why does my original post have +30? It must have struck a nerve with more than just myself.


Because there's a certain group of people who feel the same way as you do. And maybe people who read HN are more likely to belong in this group. But HN is not representative of the world.


I'm not sure an opinion (how fun a site is to use) that surely varies wildly across FB's billions of users can even be a universal "simple truth".


Huh? In my experience, no one under 40 uses the site much anymore for its original purposes. The only status updates and memes being posted are from the older crowd.


I meant under.


> No one over 40 would be caught dead of facebook otherwise.

What? The over 40 crowd is FB's main demographic.


Might be true for you. But this is so not true for a lot of the world still. Lots and lots of young people (late 20s, early 30s) still use FB. Anecdotally, quite a few of my friends still do, if not mostly for the groups.


I use it for groups. Many of our local clubs do great on facebook


The problem is that FB has changed groups as well. Groups seem to be redesigned to become more like open billboards than private enclaves with a limited membership.

They haven’t gone all the way there, so the groups are still useful, but I’m worried that’s the direction they’re taking.


Private groups mean less people and less engagement. So they'll try to trick you into opening.


That seems to be getting the same Zuckerberg death-spiral: Facebook has lots of users so it’s tempting but everyone I know who’s tried it was deluged with blatant scam attempts & Google MFA phishing attacks. Skimping on abuse just seems to be the corporate default.


FB is also actively making Marketplace worse.

They keep relegating their local pickup products and trying to turn it into a generic online marketplace.


It's annoying, but welcome. As soon as Marketplace dies, I can delete FB forever


> Marketplace is the only reason a lot of people still use the site.

Do you have any data to back this claim?


Yes. I know several people who only have Facebook accounts because they need it to buy and sell things on Marketplace.


"Won't someone please think of the shareholders"... It seems like the obvious idea, it is exactly their strengths and their user base is old enough for those features to be of value.

The thing is that would mean making Facebook less valuable, causing the current shareholders to lose money. It's going to be hard to get someone to accept a business plan that will cost them money, even if the alternative is worse long term. Perhaps because you're betting that you can of load our shares before the whole thing goes belly up (whenever that may be).

I think your idea makes a lot of sense, it would be cheaper to run, there's less fancy features to develop, might be cheaper to run andless use for moderation. The thing I don't understand well enough is the ads: Can you charge more, because your users are older and buy different things, or do teens and younger people have more disposable income?


Zuck owns a majority of the shares and there may not be anyone to please besides him. Also, cutting 50% of the expensive tech jobs sounds profitable to me.

The issue is that Zuck is no Craig Newmark. Craig is a nice guy, a philanthropist, and generally a good figure to look up to become one day.

> The thing I don't understand well enough is the ads: Can you charge more, because your users are older and buy different things, or do teens and younger people have more disposable income?

The ads run at auction, FB doesn't explicitly charge a set price for the inventory. Facebook for years has been running with an inflationary inventory (first fb, then fb newsfeed+fb, then fb+nf+insta, then fb+nf+insta+ insta stories, etc). Meaning that they have more ad slots, and more impressions, and can create a lower (at least in short term) the price per ad, while increasing overall revenue. Remember, Facebook is really good at getting an ad to the right person, so Facebook ad inventory has been valuable. If Facebook stops adding new features, then the inventory becomes static, and the price per ad will rise (again, valuable), and price out their ad customers.

(I think the idea is terrible but more feasible than people give credit for).


> The thing is that would mean making Facebook less valuable

Would it? Is the stock market completely irrational and incapable of seeing the long-term value here? Or does the market know something we don't?


FB is also the only popular platform where you can do actual "miniblogging" as in record and share your actual thoughts and experiences in a few-paragraphs textual format. But that’s pretty much the opposite of trendy right now.


I'm glad they will probably fail at that, as I absolutely do not want Facebook to be mandatory for regular life.


Yes! Exactly this.

Facebook is your online second life. It’s actually you.

With that, it doesn’t make as much sense to be the place to mindlessly scroll dance videos, or discuss politics with strangers.

It does, however, make for a great place to discuss local things, discuss hobbies, buy and sell things, message people, keep up with friends and family


> Facebook is your online second life. It’s actually you.

Does anyone want that anymore?


I think there are plenty of cases! Groups, especially. There are lots of local community groups where your real identity is useful. Like “I need a dog walker, any recommendations” or “anyone a math tutor?” Or “looking to buy a car”.


FB's core strength today is the boomer market. Definitely something I did NOT see coming 10 years ago. The 60+ crowd practically lives in Facebook Groups now and they will buy basically anything that they see in an ad on FB. You can sell people who are 60+ basically anything on FB if you target them. The pandemic really solidified this, and now the conversion rates are higher than anything I have ever seen anywhere.

It's interesting to me because many older FB users barely know how to use the platform and they have invented their own tricks and conventions—my favorite of which is commenting "Following" because they don't know how to follow something, but know that if they leave a comment they will get notifications about responses. I see that every day and I always find it interesting. Every now and then someone calls them out on it and they just don't care. They have developed their own memes and are probably the only group that uses those Bitmoji-esque "What's on your mind" cards.

FB can lean into the boomer market and basically print money. FB is going to replace QVC. Hell, they should just buy QVC.


This seemed to be their strategy for several years in the early 00s. Facebook was pretty enjoyable to use back then!


That would be the low risk strategy. Just run it as a cash cow value business and extract as much profit as possible until it dies.

However, Mark Zuckerberg has chosen to bet the company on AR/VR and is investing $10B into that area. If they get it wrong then he'll look like an idiot. If they get it right by building the next major platform for humans to communicate then he'll look like a visionary genius. We won't know which for at least 10 years.


People gave Google a ton of crap for buying YouTube for 1.6 billion (~16% of annual revenue at the time). That $10B FB spent is more like 8.5% of their revenue.

I’m skeptical of the metaverse, but I was also pretty skeptical of user-generated video. And given their current ad take, $10B is not a crazy bet.


Everyone wanted to watch and share video clips on their computer directly on the web without and without having to care about codecs, file formats, and hosting.

No one wants to have business meetings wearing VR headsets or give NFTs to virtual panhandlers or any of the other silly usecases for a modernized version of Lawnmower Man.


Maybe? I generally agree with you, but playing devils advocate:

What does the generation raised on Minecraft and Roboblox do when they grow up? They spent their adolescence in virtual worlds. Do they grow out of that? Or does it start to bleed into other parts of daily life?

VR still seems clunky as hell, but if the tech gets less obtrusive I can imagine a world where a sizable chunk of daily life is mediated through a headset.


Find a new form of escapism? A large driver of kids and teens seeking out escapism like this is that compulsory education is unsatisfying and they have very little self-determination generally. This isn't new to Minecraft and Robolox. A generation ago, it was watching way too much TV. What are those kids who watched 6 hours a night of TV doing now?


At one point no one wanted to have business meetings on Zoom, but the technology improved and the culture changed such that it's now ubiquitous. Metaverse technology is still really clunky today and used only by a few early adopters, but it's entirely possible that the experience will improve a lot in 10 years. Who knows?


Yeah, no. Zoom had a product that worked good enough (send out invite email and join a video conference) at the right time (global pandemic).

Step one of the metaverse is everyone invests in a VR headset. This is a complete non-starter. There is no counter-factual where this becomes a success.

I still can't believe this is the "A Game" of a public company worth $550bn. If this is the best they can come up with, whatever of "Meta" that is left in 10 years won't be worth 1/20 of that.


> Zoom had a product that worked good enough (send out invite email and join a video conference) at the right time

They also had a product that worked terribly at the wrong time [0].

> Step one of the metaverse is everyone invests in a VR headset. This is a complete non-starter.

Subsidizing it seemed to get a lot more people to buy it over the last few years. I 100% see a world where you don't buy a monitor, you buy a headset to use your computer. Monitors are big, ugly and fragile, and not portable. In 2-5 years when the screen tech is better and I can use a virtual monitor instead of a real one, I will 100% do that, and I think many will. Lots of younger people never buy traditional desktop or laptops.

Also, a lot of "meta verse" dialog came from not-meta, eg web3 NFT shit, so I wouldn't place too much into that being their vision. Part of a strategy for attention is certainly to get people excited, and attaching "meta verse" to random trend du jour seems like a solid way to get attention. There are crypto pumps related to the queens recent death, but that doesn't mean the queen would have wanted anything to do with crypto.

> I still can't believe this is the "A Game" of a public company worth $550bn.

TBF they started to back out of making this their only thing, and they still sell a crap ton of valuable ad space to lots of people. Its not like they abandoned their existing cash cow.

[0] https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/10/20689644/apple-zoom-web-s...


> no one wanted to have business meetings on Zoom, but the technology improved and the culture changed such that it's now ubiquitous.

No one wants to use Zoom now. It's either required or the lesser of two evils (the other evil being working in an office).


A significant factor to consider with that situation is that the recent widespread use of teleconferencing software wasn't organic.

Many people and organizations that started using it frequently during the last three years only did so because they were forced to, mainly due to absurd and unjustifiable government-imposed lockdowns and other restrictions. Otherwise, the remaining adoption was mainly driven by paranoia, and only occasionally by convenience.

We've seen a tendency for such people and organizations to return to in-person interactions as soon as they can, which usually starts the moment that government stops interfering.

While the adoption may have been rapid and widespread, we also see the reverse happening as soon as it's possible to.


Isn't user-generated video mostly dead though? The vast majority of videos on Youtube, at least by viewership hours, seems to be produced by professional youtube creators. These range in scale from the "web content" branch of large media corporations to one person doing research, presenting and editing, but all are effectively just companies. There seem to be very few videos from regular people sharing something interesting. These videos can mostly be found on Facebook, Telegram, imgur gifs, Twitter, etc.


Why do we need to wait ten years? He's building Second Life with a higher-resolution mesh. Is that visionary?


Instructions unclear, piled all available capital into the "metaverse" instead.


That's GNU/President Stallman


Their current market cap can’t be sustained by going back to their roots. They need addictive attention


Yes, but it's still a dumb idea to make instagram into tiktok rather than catering to their existing audience.


Knowing the beast firsthand, there's no trace of doubt in my mind that the convergence to a junk product outcome involved a monotonous increase in ad revenue and likely, engagement metrics.

There's a tragic dimension that a system which connected so much of humanity to itself so well would be rendered so toxic as a product and as a community in just a few years.


> There's a tragic dimension that a system which connected so much of humanity to itself

How would you say Facebook connected humanity differently from what MySpace was doing before Facebook ate their lunch with a more consistent UI?

I also am increasingly of the opinion that humanity is not wired to connect globally. Our local social networks give us a buffer against centralized bad actors. When everyone was connected directly to everyone else, what we used to call "chain letters" before social media took off won the information war because they could bypass fact checkers that would refuse to pass them to their network back when social networks were more separated.


I recall a 4chan post where the author pointed out how before the internet, if you were a person that wanted to have sex with toasters you'd never bring it up and live a better life for it, whereas now you go to Google and find a community with 1000+ members of people who have sex with toasters and inevitably ruin your life.


Hmm no I think that's not quite it. I think it's more likely that you would be a fan of toasters and then, via exposure to the toaster community and various group identity salience maneuvers, find yourself aligning with the sexual subniche; and then failing to recognize that you were just falling into a new social role and instead concluding you joined this group due to an independently and organically formed attraction to toasters.

I'm relatively certain this is how the porny subculture of the brony community occurred. I'd wager that it's largely responsible for the furry community as well.

The thing is, people are extremely malleable and subconsciously willing to change if they see an opportunity to join a warm and welcoming group. I don't think there is any malice or even intentional manipulation in it from any party. But it'd be nice if people could do the attribution analysis a bit better than the post truth "I have always been this way" kind of thing.


>before social media took off won the information war because they could bypass fact checkers that would refuse to pass them to their network

Lmao, my mother used to forward me these political chain letters. I'd reply all with sources debunking them. I quickly got removed from the list :^)


You probably got removed from the list because it cost someone a stamp to mail you the letter. These days if you respond to anything, that just puts you on the 'real person' list that gets distributed to all the spammers. Email and robocalls are essentially free so there is no incentive to take dead ends off the lists anymore.


Oh no, I thought we were talking about chain emails. I used to reply all


> I also am increasingly of the opinion that humanity is not wired to connect globally.

Sociologists generally agree.


We are in agreement that we don't want to hear from one another. This is the last you will hear from me.


>How would you say Facebook connected humanity differently from what MySpace was doing before Facebook ate their lunch with a more consistent UI?

It's simple, more people were on FB than were ever on Myspace.


> When everyone was connected directly to everyone else, what we used to call "chain letters" before social media took off won the information war because they could bypass fact checkers that would refuse to pass them to their network

But chain letters didn't spread any information and therefore couldn't participate in information wars.

A chain letter is just a letter that tells you to send it out to two or more new recipients.


> I also am increasingly of the opinion that humanity is not wired to connect globally

I view it as similar to the health hazards of widespread cheap calories – it’s not a new problem but we’ve cranked it up to 11 and put a large fraction people on the planet at risk, and approaches which tell people to exercise willpower are basically pointless.

I think the fixes have to be regulatory but seriously question the political will. Facebook was able to avoid any real consequences for their role supporting the Rohingya genocide and if that’s not enough, what will be?


Ordinary people put up with a lot of inconvenience just to stay connected (in some way). This is why fb has not collapsed yet.

I left it years ago when I realized it was just annoying me.


I made the conscious effort before leaving Facebook to trade phone numbers, addresses and birthday dates from the people I wanted to really wanted stay in touch with, and put them in my phone. This was all within the last three years.

I’ve sent birthday gifts in the mail, and I’ve gotten gifts in mail from these very people.

Sometimes, when I wonder where the convenience that gets talked about in the context of Facebook and “staying in touch” ends and a more delicate form of “you’re probably not as close to some of the people on your friends list as you think” (which was absolutely the case for me) begins.

It took really minimal effort on my part to find other ways of staying in touch, but I think maybe the key is you have to WANT to stay in touch with people?

Just a shower thought.


I'm doing this too and it has been great for me in general.

I looked at my fb friends and thought to myself which people I really liked and would like to reconnect with. I messaged "facebook friends" I have not talked to in a while and told them it may seem weird but I really would like to reconnect. I have never done anything like this, as I am extremely prone to losing touch with people.

I ended up reconnecting with a few people in real life and it has been great. I also plan on sending cards and stuff.


I do send postcards and people like it so much they ask me not to stop.


Big fan of this. I also print and mail memes and photoshops I make to people. It's nice getting something in the mail that's not a bill.


The art of deliberately staying in touch has been lost, and taking the time and effort to do so makes one stand out.


Same. I've been pretty happy with Clay (https://clay.earth). They just rolled out a Facebook birthdays integration and between that and Linkedin / iMessage it has most of the people I care about seeing.


This is a really good point. It explains why I didn't actually lose touch with anyone I didn't want to lose touch with after I left Facebook.

In fact, my bonds with them actually strengthened.


It hasn't collapsed because everyone with a half-baked idea feels they need to purchase ads to syndicate across Facebook or Instagram

and some of the fully baked ideas with a budget do it too

its the crux of most modern online marketing strategies, its always an overhead cost, recurring


Users of FB have migrated to Instagram and WhatsApp (all owned by Meta) ... FB is now for old people / those who don't like new tech.


Instagram and Facebook don't have the functionality that Facebook has, that's the problem.

Instagram is for photo sharing. Hell, it's not even for that... it's a dating app for women, that doesn't advertise itself as a dating app for women.

WhatsApp is just another telephone and messaging app, there's not much special about it as far as I can tell. It's ICQ on a smartphone and I guess, maybe, a better interface.

I was more connected back in the email / ICQ / Skype / forums age than I am in the so-called "social" media age.


in what respect is Instagram a dating app for women or anyone? Because it's a social media site primarily used by younger-ish people? by that metric any site that features young people is just an over-glorified dating platform. (not to say that this is a negative implication, dating websites are great to some extent)

Do you believe that young people are capable of using social media platforms for things other than base urges or is that something only middle aged people are able to accomplish?


This wasn't meant for you, but the other guy deleted his question, so here we go.

Instagram is a photo-sharing application at it's core.

So when you share photos, you're sharing your lifestyle. You're advertising. This is especially prevalent down here in Miami. So much so that people oftentimes at clubs don't exchange phone numbers; they exchange Instagrams. The women can see by your Instagram posts what kind of life you live and whether or not they're interested. You can see by their Instagram who and what they are. If you go to it and you're inundated with a ton of booty pics in string bikinis and a little string barely covering her titties, hanging on for dear life, you know she's advertising, "I am a hoe and I do hoe things." If you go to her Instagram and you see a lot of landscape photos, ancient monuments, etc., you know she's advertising, "I like to travel and have a genuine interest in culture."

If you go to a man's Instagram and he's got photos of himself stepping off a private jet, photos of him on a sailboat or a yacht smoking a cigar with a label that clearly reads Arturo Fuente Opus X and holding a glass of amber liquid with a bottle that says Louis XIII on it, photos of himself in a sharp suit leaned up against his Aston Martin DB11, he's advertising, "I am a successful, wealthy man who lives a life of luxury." If you go a man's Instagram and there's pictures of his woodshop, some photos of a new chest of drawers he crafted, a picture of him sitting by the lake with his trusty Labrador retriever lovingly sitting by his side, he's advertising, "I'm a down-to-Earth craftsman who enjoys the serenity of nature."

And then all these people go sliding into one another's DMs, as the cool kids say...

If you don't believe that, start listening to the podcast Blocked and Reported with Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal. I've been listening since episode 29. They're on episode 131. They report on Internet ridiculousness and culture-at-large. A shocking amount of stories eventually have the phrase "slid into the DMs" in them.

It's clear to me that Instagram is being used as a dating platform as much as it is a storytelling or photo-sharing platform. And I don't think Meta should do anything about that at all. It's a dating platform on the down-low. I think that might be a good thing.


In addition to that, it's pretty common on other dating platforms to say something along the lines of "don't use this much, it's better to reach me on instagram".

Part of that is looking for new followers, part of that is using IG as the primary social portal for their lives.


I can see your argument, and it's certainly an interesting way of looking at it, but this just explains the "dating app" part of your assertion ("... it's a dating app for women,"). It's missing the explanation on why it's a "dating app for women".


Because even now in our so-called "sexually liberated" world, men make the overwhelming amount of approaches that indicate sexual interest. Put simply, "Men make the first move."

In a way, Instagram is the digital / technological pinnacle of the "Personals" ads from newspapers of yesteryear.

I wonder if Rupert Holmes will update "Escape" with the line, "There was this post that I saw... on my Instagram feed..."


WhatsApp is huge in some countries (even bigger than some telecom companies in the number of users it has).


[flagged]


Sir, this is a Hacker News.


I almost never log in to Facebook anymore, but the feed was hilariously bad the last time I checked it out. Almost entirely ads for random crap, eyecandy videos, exotic Asian street food videos, etc. Nothing even remotely related to my interests.

At least Facebook seems to have figured out that I'm not a Star Wars fan. For years, their algorithm somehow decided that I liked Star Wars and that I wanted my feed to be full of lame ass Star Wars memes. I haven't been even remotely interested in Star Wars since I was a boy, and as an adult I hardly even watch Star Trek or have an interest in any other sci-fi. Perhaps Disnay was paying Facebook to just blast their product at random people.

I suspect the even greater amount of suggested content in the FB feed is another symptom of the TikTokification of the internet. Facebook was already kind of doing this, but the feed becoming almost entirely suggested content definitely seems like a response to the fact that the 68th percentile of the public seems to have no problem scrolling through random eye-catching bullshit.


For years Facebook fed me interesting local pages and national news from (usually) reputable sources. About six months ago Facebook decided that what I really need to see is an endless stream of lingerie and female-focused sex toys; I've never clicked on these things, or lingered long over them, as far as I am aware.

Coincidentally, it was around six months ago that I disabled the browser from my phone; so perhaps they no longer have location information to lean on?

And, of course, I haven't seen a post from a friend or family member in recent memory.


Some product manager misunderstood the concept of 'generating buzz'. /s


It happened right as they started deprioritizing news, which included every legitimate media outlet that adults tend to read—including non-political publications.

Also my friends basically all stopped posting anything in 2020.

So what's left is nothing but dumb memes. Half are about dogs (okay, I do like dogs, but these are just stupid). The other half are Lord of the Rings, which I have never expressed interest in, but must be in a lookalike audience for people who do.


What do you mean you don't like Star Wars, everyone likes Star Wars, May the Forth and lol anjklsdnajkdsnfkasfasd

Star Wars!!!! i'm so unique


I actually really enjoyed the second movie of the new trilogy because it seemed to be a shockingly self-aware deconstruction of some of the Star Wars tropes and its place in culture in general. How it ever got greenlit by Disney of all entities is an enduring mystery.


The second one's the only one of the new trilogy worth saving from a fire. Though I also can't really recommend it to anyone because it doesn't stand very well on its own, and I sure wouldn't want to recommend either of the others to most people (IX has some "so bad it's good" qualities that make it fun for a certain kind of viewer, but I wouldn't say it's any kind of major hit even in that respect)

Man. That trilogy. Good actors, excellent in some cases, and they sure did try. But it wasn't enough.


> I actually really enjoyed the second movie of the new trilogy because it seemed to be a shockingly self-aware deconstruction of some of the Star Wars tropes and its place in culture in general.

Congratulations, you also figured out why it was so polarizing and why more than half the audience hated it... assuming you believe Rotten Tomatoes. It's Star Wars. People don't want a goddamned political deconstruction of all the objectively bullshit and overblown worries of the current culture. They want an escapist fantasy about another galaxy thousands of years ago.

> How it ever got greenlit by Disney of all entities is an enduring mystery.

Is it? Really? You legitimately can't figure out how that meeting went?

"Ohmigod, feeemale protagonist... so hot right now..."

"I know, right?? And she's a BOSS BITCH so she can use all the Force powers better than experienced Jedi from day one, hashtag grrlpwr!"

"Angsty Luke... fab idea, fam!"

There's not enough evidence on Planet Earth to make me believe they sat around in meetings thoroughly discussing what would be a logical story arc for the original cast, whilst simultaneously passing the baton over to a new generation to start exploring their own stories.


I understand exactly why fans hated it and the mediocrity of the corporate choices the Mouse made. What I'm saying is that there were elements (such as the green milk scenes) that made it appear like the director was speaking to us like an old man coming to terms with his childhood dreams and understanding the futility of escapism. I found it remarkable to find this in a mass-market, focus-group devised children's movie.


I suspect part of it is that Real People are posting less. Since the feed doesn't have a bottom anymore it makes up the difference with sponsored and suggested junk rather than going empty.


I was actually going to post vacation photos a few months ago, after my first real trip post Covid. But... it just felt really awkard to do so all of a sudden. My feed is just stuffed with shared content and other crap, it no longer felt like something I would be welcome doing.

Its been making me wonder if its time to sell my shares, which I have held since the IPO. It just feels like FB errr "Meta" is really losing its way, and this Metaverse stuff just seems like its going to be a furnace into which billions of dollars are going to be thrown into. My gut says its time, but I just can't quite pull the trigger yet.


I don't understand your hesitation to share your photos (or at least, not based on that criteria). "[wouldn't] be welcome"? By whom? Facebook? Or your friends? Would that imply they'd rather see ads and shared crap content than original content?

IMO Facebook needs an "original content only" setting. I block every single page that some idiot shares, but I'm not sure how much it helps. I will literally never want to see something shared from another page.

It seems like this would be a good thing for FB too. Keep engagement up, keep inserting ads. Hell, they could insert MORE ads if the content I saw from my friends had a greater signal:noise ratio.

Anyway, I recently shared some vacation pictures and quite enjoyed it. So much better than a bullshit "story" that lasts 24h and nobody can engage with except via DM. Such a weird impulse for an app. (okay, I get that they want you to use it constantly so you have FOMO about missing content that disappears after 24h, but I don't get why they don't want any real user engagement on the content).


I totally get what he says. If your feed no longer feels like it's your feed, more like some bazar on your phone, than why post anything private?


Exactly this, it's gone from a something like a yahoo listserve with your friends to nextdoor with the whole world. And this repositioning happened completely behind the scenes seemingly as a side effect of pushing monetization too hard.


No I get it. Today it feels less like posting them on a microblog and more like hanging them in the middle of a mall and telling your friends they can look there. It also fits a little too close to the toxic "just the good parts" narrative of social media.


This was what led me to quit Facebook as well. I just got a real sketchy feeling sharing photos of my family knowing that other people would see them intermingled with all sorts of awful content.


This makes absolutely no sense, and is totally your own mental trip. Your friends (at least some of them) want to see stuff from their friends. Now, Facebook might not show your photos in their feeds, but most people would rather have that than more ads.


My FB feed no longer feels like walking down a hall with my friends in it, it feels a lot more like walking through a mall with advertisements constantly in my face and strangers screaming from every store front with their "content." It just feels like a very different place than even a few years ago- and showing your vacation photos in the mall is the wrong place to do it (I know the analogy isn't perfect, but its the best I can do to reflect on why it felt weird to me).

They are pretty much at the tipping point where the signal to noise ratio has gotten so low that it seems futile to add more signal. There is also a component to it as well where is it really worth it to give FB even more data about my life?- what am I even getting in return for it these days? And even more recently, I woke up one morning recently and the feed felt really stale, I was seeing posts from the previous day. I tried to look at just my friends, and then sort by most recent, and you could see that just the number of people actually posting what they are up to is just way down.

Instagram is better for this these days, but its headed in the same direction it seems.


I think it makes a great deal of sense. The concern (I assume) is that his posts will be surrounded by all the nonsense that FB is filling people's feeds with.

The context in which you share stuff is incredibly important. If the platform will bookend your posts with crap, it reduces the value of your own post.


This.

Most people have ~300 friends. Most of those friends never post, and the 10% that do probably only post a couple of times a year now.

That means whenever you log in, there is no content from your friends to see.


I’m not so sure about that. My mom posts on Facebook and gets a few likes with pictures of Jesus with text in them, and my wife posts every day with political hot takes, literally just text posts and gets hundreds of likes on virtually every post she makes with tons of comments and engagement.

My high school peers post pictures of their kids all the time. I like their pictures and they like mine. My grandparents all like my posts too, except grandpa who told me not to curse on Facebook so I blocked her. I’ll curse on Facebook if I want, damn it!

Edit: You know, I haven’t even posted this but just to verify I went to Facebook and… 90% was suggested pages and barely any of my friends posts. I swear it wasn’t like this yesterday. Did someone push an algorithm change and screw everything up in prod for Facebook?


I have also noticed a lot more suggested pages recently, I think they pushed a junk algorithm change.


> My mom posts on Facebook and gets a few likes with pictures of Jesus with text in them, and my wife posts every day with political hot takes

I'm so sorry. I hope you can get help.


Yea this comment really buried the personal lede. I think I literally raised an eyebrow.


And the 1% daily posters would actively drive you away from Facebook if their spam of posts showed up in your newsfeed.


You can see this by going to https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr

This temporarily forces chronological feed by most recently posted. My feed of actual people turned into a ghost town.


People post liberally to private Groups you're a member of, and you don't need to be their friends. Group posts should be the majority of your newsfeed.


That's an extremely liberal use of the word friend.

A more accurate way to state it would be to say 'facebook connections'. If you don't regularly communicate with them, they aren't your friends.


If they won't help you move a couch, they're not a friend.


If they are only your friend because you talked to them recently they probably aren't your friend either.


That’s nitpicking. These people are called "friends" on FB, not "connections".


It's not nitpicking. It's the correct use of a word with its established definitions.

If you want to use the FB corporate meaning, go ahead, but label it appropriately.


Can we all agree to call them FB friends, not friends.


> 'facebook connections'

This is called an acquaintance.


By comparison, Instagram - the other part of Facebook - still puts a "no new posts" item in the feed, so there's a clear indicator that you can put Instagram away and you won't miss out on anything.

However, Facebook has been slowly chipping away at it, by putting suggested posts afterwards (instead of accounts you actually follow) so if you're not paying attention, you'll still get ads / engagement. I expect the "no new posts" indicator will be made smaller and smaller, and eventually disappear.


Funny, I see the opposite on Instagram - it's loaded with "suggested posts" based on things you liked, other accounts you follow, or apparently just things that you stopped scrolling for a second or two on, which I guess it detects. It even switches you to an endless list of suggested posts to scroll through once you have seen all of the posts from people you actually follow since the last time you opened the app - you have to click to an alternate screen/feed if you want to see an "old" post again.


That's a really important consideration. I post virtually nothing and neither do the majority of my old friends from school. Maybe it is due to being older and generally less interesting, but I suspect it is also because my friends who are inclined to post prolifically have moved on to Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter.


Nah. People are posting, and then it doesn't show up in their friends' feeds, sometimes not for days. You can see this easily if you talk to people IRL. "I posted those photos two days ago, didn't you see?" and then the photos show up in your feed a few days later. Or never.


Only 3-5 people I knew posted on Facebook, and it still hid those posts from me. If I can't see my own mother's content, that website is worthless to me.


So ~3B people are now willingly going to Facebook to be served ads and (probably) bot farms that just repost/share junk articles (some of which are or will be computer generated). Can't wait for the metaverse /s


I gave up visiting Facebook a long time ago, so can't speak to whatever current algorithm, but even a few years ago, my feed was already flooded with outside content while only presenting a small fraction of my friends' content.

If I wanted to see most of the friend-content I had "subscribed" to, I had to do a manual tour of their profiles.

I'm sure people do post even less now, but I'm skeptical that's the root cause of what's being reported. The explicit bias towards political/commercial/promoted/engagementbait content over "subscribed" content has been there for years.


Yup, it's in a death spiral. As each feed gets less real content, that person disengaged and posts less. So their friends' feeds get less real content.


I still log into Facebook pretty often, but most of my posts are no longer actually shared with friends, so I hardly ever make them anymore. What's the point of posting something almost no one will see?


I don't know. There's plenty of posts from my friends. I just don't see them because I'm not willing to wade through all of the junk ads and sponsored stuff.


When they changed things to make it so businesses had to pay for "sponsored posts" to get their followers to see them, you could see the writing on the wall.

If normal people's posts get seen by their friends and followers, what would a business be paying for? And so it starts a loop that ends in nothing but AI generated content for doomscrollers.


If the average person's feed has less engagement from their friends, then they are probably less likely to post.

There's probably a threshold where this problem starts feeding itself, and a threshold where it stops.


I'm a relatively old person that still has lots of friends that use FB (and not instagram or tiktok) and 100% of my feed (except for ads) was stuff from my friends.


Agree, but I think this is an effect rather than a cause. They made the feed un-friendly and un-cool, and as a result, Real People stopped posting.


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