This Thursday Facebook plans on announcing new changes they have made to make the news feed more appealing. Their changes stem from fears that people are starting to find it boring and that 21% of users deactivated their accounts at some point in the past year. 61% took a break from Facebook the same year. They plan on making pictures bigger, more videos, and have “more engaging ads” in order to stop the slowing use of this social network. Since 2009 Facebook has been using technology to filter the newsfeed in order to make it appeal to our specific interests. I guess we don’t have as much autonomy online as we thought. Perhaps that is what is making people turn away, the realization that everything we see on Facebook is controlled by algorithms. No one likes to be controlled, especially when they don’t know they are being controlled. Facebook knows us too well.
Interestingly, teens are turning more towards Instagram (which Facebook owns anyways) and Pinterest. Both platforms are based very much on the visual. Pictures are a huge part of both sites, suggesting teens are more interested with looking at pictures than reading statuses and comments in their news feed. Pictures are more captivating and unique to each individual that posts them, and as they say ” a picture can say a thousand words”. I can see how this sudden turn to photo based sites would be a concern for Facebook. Pinterest and Instagram also give the network user much more autonomy. We can choose what we post or pin and are uninfluenced but what is chosen to appear on our profiles or home page.
Perhaps this sudden interest in visual culture is what is making Facebook re-invent its news feed. Or is it that Facebook is already losing popularity because there are new and interesting forms of social media. Could Facebook already be on its way out? I personally think Facebook will be around for a long time, but it will be totally different from its original appearances. They will keep changing aspects of it to maintain public interest. They will emphasize characteristics that go with the popular public trends. We will forever be on Facebook because they want us to be.