The Death of Facebook

facebook homepage

Not like the company is dying. Infact even after the recent privacy concerns, Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of Instagram and Tik Tok, facebook still remains one of millennials’ top choices to announce their marriage, birth of a child and vacation checkins.

Now I know most of my readers are casual social media users and the entire concept of social media marketing may not be of any interest but bear with me if you would like to understand how social media works and why are your likes down! Below are the top two reasons causing facebook’s death by strangulation.

1. Becoming Un’Reach’able

This could be a bit technical so lets get straight to the point.

‘Reach’ is basically how many people see your post

If you are a total novice let me make it clear that not every person in your friends list gets to see your posts. No, I am not saying that they hate you so much that they quickly scroll away at the site of your post 😜, what I am saying is that facebook doesn’t show them your posts at all.

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Infact you might have observed that there’s usually the same set of people that engage with your posts. They are actually the ones that get to see your posts most often. Chances are you too get to see their posts more often than not. Other than this set of people, it is very rare to see posts by the remaining folks in your friends list. What you will be served instead are posts by pages.

This is where it is important to understand the two types of reach,

Organic reach is basically same as ‘reach’ that I mentioned above

Paid reach includes people that see your content because you have paid for its promotion. It is driven by your ad targeting options

If you thought the targeting options were as simple as Age, Gender and Location, you are totally wrong. The two images below explain the micro level at which you can target the audience. The whole idea of target advertising is, unlike TV and Radio that serve ads to everyone, facebook can serve ads of your upcoming horror movie only to those that are interested in this genre.

facebook ad targeting options
facebook ad targeting options
facebook ad targeting options

Now, answer this simple question. Which post do you think facebook would like to show you,

a) Post made by someone in your friends list
b) Post made by a page that isn’t paying facebook for promotion
c) Post made by a page that pays facebook for promotion

As one of my coaching class teachers would say, correct answer is C for Calcutta.

(Me and a friend used to have fun in the class by shouting out odd city names, like, C for Chikmagalur 😃. Good times)

Now money is a factor but not the only one. Suppose facebook shows you every single post made by every single friend of yours, are you likely to spend more time on facebook? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Assume you like to travel (and thanks to Social Media and FOMO, who doesn’t?), would you prefer watching a professionally shot video of an exotic location posted by a travel company or read a shayari posted by a friend that you wouldn’t even understand? By the way, chances are, that the shayari is posted by me 😃😃

So facebook optimizes the content you see to draw more engagement. And thus, the content you post on facebook has a very limited reach and is almost unreachable in case of pages unless you pay facebook some moneybags to promote your page’s content 💰💰

2. The Love for ‘Haters’

In the internet language, haters are also known as Trolls. Below is a definition,

Troll is someone who deliberately pisses people off online to get a reaction

Believe it or not, Facebook, just like every other social media platform, loves Trolls! They are good for business. Below’s how,

i. A celeb, for instance Disha Patani, posts an image

ii. Trolls gather around and do what they do best. Exhibit below,

disha patani profile

iii. Why do you think those comments are at the top? Because they incited engagement. Many people laughed at those comments but then some of Disha’s fans and supporters came to rescue. They replied to the trolls starting an all out keyboard war. As you can imagine, this keyboard war could get way more intense depending on the content being trolled. I know because I recently got into a keyboard war while researching for this topic just to see how far it could go and trust me it goes quite far

iv. Now comes the important part. Here’s how all this is getting monetized. Facebook (just like other platforms) makes money by showing you promoted content. The more involved you are in a keyboard war, the more likely you are to either hang around or open facebook multiple times and see promoted content

v. Now you might think keyboard wars are good for facebook as they get to make money but lets get a level deeper. Why do you think Disha posts all those pics? That’s because inciting comment war leads to audience engagement. Facebook and advertisers get to know that Disha’s page is where the people are spending their time. Based on your interests, it is possible that facebook shows you a pic of Disha instead of my shayari. Disha is all of a sudden pretty popular. Hypothetically, when Disha posts a video with ads, guess whether she gets high ad rates or low? You guessed it 🔼

vi. Finally, let’s address the trolls. Typically, they are just haters and are pretty satisfied with the likes and reactions they get by spewing hatred. But look no further and you will find many examples of how trolls have become enormously popular and achieved influencer status. Twitter is full of such examples and there’s alot of money to be made in the influencer domain. A blog on it here

And thus the bottomline is, a keyboard war is,

  • Good for social media platforms
  • Good for whoever is being trolled
  • Good for whoever is trolling

What’s next?

The only problem with the facebook model is that someone without the money to spend on promoting content will find it super difficult to reach people. The other way ofcourse is to be able to incite keyboard wars to drive engagement. This is partially why new influencers (along with their fanbase) move to other platforms, like Instagram, hoping to increase their reach leaving facebook deserted.

active social media users as of july 2019

For all practical purposes, facebook is alive and kickin’ but if you want to spread your word around, its pretty much dead. The good news, as you can see above, is that there are many other platforms with plenty of eyeballs.

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