20 years later, Facebook is a supporting character in the Mark Zuckerberg universe

It’s been 20 years since Mark Zuckerberg first brought thefacebook.com online from his dorm room. What happened next was endlessly documented: the Harvard-only social network took over college campuses and eventually the world.

The social network occupies an increasingly awkward place in Meta’s “family” of applications. Most American adults service but three out of four Facebook – perhaps because it is fueling a global misinformation crisis and promoting genocidal hate speech – is “making society worse”. Facebook still generates billions of dollars in ad revenue for Meta, but user growth has simply slowed down for the company. will no longer share how many people are using it.

appears regularly on Facebook’s list writings. The most productive users on the game streaming service . TikTok has faced increasing pressure from Meta its feed, it is still necessary to emphasize on the posts of people you know. But the change didn’t make Facebook feel like TikTok, so much as a weird window into what the Meta algorithms find most attractive and least offensive.

My own Facebook feed is filled with posts from groups I don’t belong to, devoted to anodyne topics like home improvement, cast iron pan enthusiasts, and the Yellow Men’s Club. I haven’t posted anything on my page in over a year, even though I log in almost every day. I’m hardly an outsider. Most adults they are more “selective” about what they post on social media than before.

It is not surprising that teenagers show almost no interest in the social networks of their parents and grandparents. Only 33 percent of US teenagers Compared to 71 percent in 2015, they “always” use this service. This dynamic of Facebook’s user base aging faster than its product has led some scholars to conclude that the social network will one day have more profiles. more than alive.

Today, Facebook has more than 3 billion users, and even if he is no longer the main character, Mark Zuckerberg remains the workhorse of the cinematic universe. Instead, it’s just one of his company’s “family” of programs. In 2021, Zuckerberg time was officially demoted like the company Meta. “Our brand is so tied to one product that it can’t represent everything we do today, let alone in the future,” Zuckerberg said of Facebook. “From now on, we will be primarily metaverse, not Facebook.”

Whether or not Meta succeeds in being a “metaverse-first” company is debatable at best. But few would argue that it’s anything close to “Facebook-first.” Recently, Zuckerberg tried to pitch Meta as a metaverse company and one joins the race to create a human level .

Meanwhile, the only reason Zuckerberg’s ambitions are even possible is Facebook’s success. Meta has lost tens of billions of dollars in metaverse investments and expects to lose more in the near future. The company also plans to spend billions more (AGI doesn’t come cheap).

These investments will determine whether Zuckerberg’s bet on the future of social media is correct. If he realizes his vision for an AI chatbot, metaverse-influenced future, it will be made possible in large part by the unprecedented financial success of the oldest and most boring part of his empire.

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