Facebook Is Dying
10 reasons why the most popular social network is dying and how it can be revived
Looking at the brief history of the world and how it changed over the past few centuries, you’ll notice that nothing remains on top forever. Including people, countries, civilizations, and companies. Did you hear about the Dutch East India company? It’s considered the largest company in recorded history, where is it today? The world is rapidly changing and it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the next few years.
We are moving from one era to another, a decade ago, it was about oil. Yet now, it is computing. A field like AI is believed to be the new electricity, as noted by professor Andrew Ng. The Internet changed the lives of billions of people, improved the way people can learn and communicate. It also redefined media and several jobs. It also had a major role in changing the history of some countries like what happened with the Arab Spring, it all started on Facebook.
Facebook is one of the top 5 internet companies in the world. It has a huge number of daily and monthly active users of 1.84 and 2.80 billion users respectively. The list of biggest companies in the world now includes Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, and Amazon. Yet, this will change soon.
Technology is evolving daily giving new opportunities for new companies to appear. Yet, those who don’t use the opportunities in innovations will collapse, just like everything through history. Also, the social life is people is changing rapidly, giving people new needs and perspectives daily. So what company will not be on the top list of companies anymore? It is Facebook and here is why.
1. Facebook is not selling a real product to customers
Unlike Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. Facebook is not selling a real product. Its market is just based on an online website or app, if several active users or people doing ads drop then it’s the end. No big deals with other big companies for future mass production for a product, no factories around the world, no shops to sell its new products, and no customer service or maintenance centers across the globe. I know that Facebook has just one big product which is Oculus, but its revenues are not enough to keep Facebook on top of the list.
You might think it is the same for something Like Google, but that’s not true. As Google’s Cloud is kind of a physical product that it is selling and Youtube which even if people stopped using it, will still be a very big database of videos, it will be like a slice of human history recorded by videos. So even if videos became obsolete, people will still access them for a while.
2. Facebook Is not doing enough Innovation
During the past few years, Facebook didn’t change that much. Yes, it introduced some new features, the marketplace, improved its ads targeting and its messenger facilities but no core innovative changes, its almost the same as the Facebook I was using 5 years ago. Facebook used a nice trick to keep users around for longer, changing its UI every while. I still recall in our first days on Facebook when we get very annoyed from changing Facebook changing its UI and my homepage becomes full of posts about how to get the old theme back. It was very annoying, but it’s a nice trick to keep the users interested in discovering the website more and don’t get bored. Is this trick still effective? No, it is not enough anymore. The area of innovation in the UI design is limited, and Facebook is failing in making those changes anymore.
3. Buy them or destroy them
Facebook did a really good decision buying Whatsapp and Instagram. I think that will keep Facebook alive for longer, especially Whatsapp. Yet, this is another proof that Facebook is not able to innovate more. Have you heard about what happened with Snapchat? They didn’t reach an agreement with Facebook, so Facebook started copying some of its features to Messenger and Instagram. With this trick, Facebook won the battle against Snapchat, but is this a guarantee that it will win all the upcoming battles? Facebook needs to provide its own innovative solutions and not depend on other companies. What if Facebook was not able to buy the next big upcoming Social network? Will it take from Facebook’s market share?
4. Facebook is not Number 1 in many of its features
What is facebook known for? Videos? YouTube. Ads? Google. Video conference? Zoom. You may consider every special feature people look for and discover that Facebook is not a pioneer anymore. Only if you counted WhatsApp then that’s a very strong point for Facebook. Yet, what will happen if other platforms took more features from Facebook and were able to take from the Facebook market share?
For example, Small businesses, this is a great feature that Facebook is supporting today through Facebook Groups and Marketplace, but what happens when another platform dedicated to small businesses with a dedicated UI and enough support can easily take this feature from Facebook?
5. Active Users
The current number of active users is huge, and it’s growing every day, but what happens when this growth curve reaches its maximum and it starts to go down? It will start to decrease one day. Have you heard about e-buddy? Yahoo Messenger? And MSN? What about Hi5 and Myspace?
12 years ago, I was not imagining how someone can live without MSN messenger. Now, does MSN still exist?
I know that the number of users of these products was in hundreds of millions, and Facebook users are in Billions now, yes, that will give Facebook some more time to live.
6. Customer data privacy
In the upcoming years of the digital world, I expect people to care much more about their data privacy than they do today. Facebook’s reputation is not good at this point. Selling customer’s data is not an ethical way to make money. It also proves the second point raised above — not doing enough innovation — as they are searching for selling data as a way to make a profit rather than innovate in new functionalities.
Another aspect of data privacy is targeted ads. It’s very annoying when I’m searching or even thinking about something and I find Facebook showing ads about it. It’s scary! How much do you know about me!
7. Not Inclusive for everyone
Facebook used to be a free platform for all people to express and share their opinions on. Currently, Facebook is doing agreements with governments to allow or remove posts based on the point of view of each country. I’m not talking about nudity, I’m talking about social and political opinions. This drives people to other more free platforms.
8. Not being a Customer-Centric Company
When you look at a company like Amazon, you’ll see that they are aiming to be “The earth’s most customer-centric company”, same for Apple with a very good reputation in customer satisfaction.
Is Facebook like this? No, it is not!
Do you remember when Facebook introduced the Like button? I recall that many people and pages started to ask Facebook to introduce the Dislike button as well, they didn’t. Then after many years, Facebook introduced some more sentiments, and guess what, none of them is Dislike.
I know someone whose account was wrongly identified as a fake account, they just closed it without doing any further investigations. We reached out to their support but no response for weeks. The account was only returned when we asked help from someone working on Facebook to tell them that this is not a fake account. What a customer experience!
I think another network can steal some of Facebook’s users by just focusing a little more on customer satisfaction, and this will definitely happen soon.
9. Social Media Addiction
How many times you’ve seen people fighting themselves to stop using Facebook. I’ve seen. Many people are feeling that Facebook is taking so much of their time and they are putting goals to limit the hours they are spending on the internet. Facebook and Instagram are known for how toxic they are today.
On the other hand, Facebook is making a profit from people wasting time on their platform. The more time you spend there, the more data is collected, and the more ad they are showing to you. The rise of mental health care is leading many people to get themselves away from these addictive websites. People start looking for more important things other than scrolling down their homepage indefinitely.
Facebook is putting tremendous efforts just to make you stay around for longer, and as a person, you are not getting any profit from that, you are just losing more and more time of your precious life in a toxic environment.
10. Imaginary world
As someone from the Middle East, I thought that Facebook helped in the Arab Spring revolutions. Yet, later it turned out it is not reflecting real statistics of the nations. It gave an illusion through its imaginary world, which was one of the biggest reasons for the revolutions’ failure. When you check the Pages you follow you’ll imagine that all the people are happy with what’s happening and agreeing with what you are doing. Although the majority of the population in these countries at that time didn’t even have a Facebook account and having much more problems than what you know about. Facebook alone cannot make a substantial change without hands working in the real world.
Sharing thoughts on Facebook can feel like you’ve done your part in solving the problem, although that might not be enough in many of the cases. Imagine you met someone in the street who needs some food, you didn’t get him something to eat, instead, you posted a Facebook status about him and asked people to help him, or at least do their part by sharing your post. After hundreds of shares, nothing will change in the life of this person unless someone puts his hands in his pocket and just give him something to eat.
Yet sure, I know you know someone who found a job because of a Facebook post. Also, some people are selling things and making money on Facebook groups and Marketplace, I know there are many exceptions there. I just imagine that people will prefer to spend more time on platforms more impacting the real world in the upcoming few years.
You might be asking, What might save Facebook from failing?
Is it Whatsapp or Instagram? I don’t think so. As everything said above applies to Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, and Instagram. It’s just a matter of time and people will likely move away from these platforms to new better and improved online solutions.
In addition to addressing the points mentioned above, I think the main thing that might give Facebook some more years to be around is Oculus! Yes, Oculus. Oculus might be the innovation that Facebook needs! It is all about involving Virtual Reality.
Imagine that you can meet your friends in person, but virtually. You wear your Oculus and choose to meet your family and friends in a garden or a mall. Doing business with your remote team in a virtual room where you can see each other sitting on the same table virtually. Also shopping online but visiting the store virtually as if you are in there and moving around the products. I think if Facebook reached this technology first and provided it to people with low prices then this will be the next era of Social networking. Then that will make Facebook survive some more years, but it won’t make it survive forever, like everything else.
Last, If you agree that Facebook will fail first, let me know why, and what will be the second company to fail after Facebook in your opinion?
And if you disagree, then let me know why, and which company will fail first?