Facebook is planning a major redesign to compete with TikTok

Facebook is planning to revamp the design of its app in a bid to compete with TikTok. The changes including bringing Messenger back in the Facebook app and focusing on Reels.

Published:Thu, June 16, 2022 11:16am

By Shweta Ganjoo


Meta, for long, has quashed competition either by buying the platform or by introducing matching features that are popular among users. So far, this trick has worked well with WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat. But now, another social media platform has grabbed eyeballs and it posing as a big threat for the company. Meta has already acknowledged TikTok as its competition.

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"The first is competition. People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long-term. As is our work to make sure that our apps are the best services out there for young adults, which I spoke about on our last call," Meta's Mark Zuckerberg had told the investors in an earnings calls earlier this year.


Now, the company has come with a plan to compete with TikTok.

In an internal memo obtained by The Verge, Meta's executive in-charge of the Facebook app, Tom Allison, has highlighted the exact steps that the company needs to take in a bid to compete with ByteDance's TikTok. "The risk for us is that we dismiss this as being not valuable to people as a form of social communication and connection and we fail to evolve," Allison wrote in the memo to the employees.


Allison's mandate to the employees is clear: make Reels successful, build world-class recommendations technology, and unlocking messaging-based sharing. "They also represent some of the biggest -- but also most challenging -- opportunities to succeed with Young Adults," Allison added pointing towards the company's dwindling popularity among young users who are gravitating more towards platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

As a part of the changes, Facebook will emphasise more on Reels, bring Messenger back to the main app (after nearly eight years of spinning it off as a separate app, and recommend posts regardless of where they are coming from instead of posts from people that users follow.

In the memo, Allison also talks about building something called a 'Discovery Engine'. "In this note I want to introduce the concept of Facebook as a "discovery engine," which is a helpful mental model to frame the current focus of our long-term strategy. It also helps contextualize our product priorities, which we'll continue to evolve over time to emphasize our near-term focus areas," he wrote in the post, adding, "Today we see a shift towards social media products serving as "discovery engines." We're sharing an updated articulation of our near-term priorities that are aimed at strengthening the Facebook discovery engine."

Now, this is not the first time that we have heard about a discovery engine. It was first mentioned by Zuckerberg it at an investors' call earlier this year. "Overall, I think about the AI that we're building not just as a recommendation system for short-form video, but as a Discovery Engine that can show you all of the most interesting content that people have shared across our systems. In Facebook, that includes not just video but also text post, links, group posts, reshares and more," he had said at the time. Simply put, Meta is building an AI-based recommendations systems that will bring new (and probably younger users) to the platform and keep the company's existing users hooked to the platform. Whether this plan will actually work or not remains to be seen.

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