The only constant about Facebook is the constant changing of its algorithm. The most recent change is aimed at removing like-bait posts and spammy content. The company also plans to remove messenger functions from the main app, because removing functions is a great way to keep customers loyal.
Facebook has been diversifying its services through development and acquisition for several years now. Instagram, WhatsApp and the recent Oculus Rift purchase have all stoked the ire of users and driven some of them away, especially as the services change under Facebook’s purview. In fact, 59 percent of users surveyed by CNET said yes to quitting Instagram. And with development teams creating Paper and spinning off Messenger, soon a phone could be weighed down by Facebook’s sprawling app catalog.
According to Wired senior writer Ryan Tate, pushing Messenger as a separate app could result in an exodus of users. “The move is a crystal clear indication that Facebook is truly serious about splitting its service out into a constellation of mobile apps. There’s no question Facebook’s decision to end chat in its flagship app will be a huge near-term blow to activity levels on its chat network,” he writes.
In terms of the app market, Facebook is trying to diversify its service as much as possible. “This is Facebook is trying to build an escape pod to a better place as the mother ship starts to stall out,” according to the skeptical Eric Eldon, co-founder of InsideNetwork and former editor of TechCrunch. But the constant cycle of change is Facebook’s desperate attempt to retain engagement. Unfortunately for marketers, that means the end of earned engagement.
The Next Web suggests that the latest kinds of posts targeted by Facebook are the “like-baiting” posts, repeated content and spammy links. These are posts that ask users to ‘vote’ by liking or commenting and re-uploading popular content for increased engagement. “Over time, these stories lead to a less enjoyable experience of Facebook since they drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about,” a Facebook representative told The Next Web.
Facebook has a lot to lose if it bungles user engagement, or if its services become obsolete. The company has no interest in losing its market share, even if it means sacrificing a few users for the good of the overall scheme.
As Tate says, “[Facebook] will undermine the idea, commonly held in technology circles, that the dominant innovators in one computing era almost inevitable[ly] are blindsided by the next.”