Meta says the future of Facebook is young adults (again)

When you think about Facebook, the social network that has been around for 20 years, what comes to mind is its popularity among “young adults.” Naturally, Meta wants to change that and the company is once again telling the world that it intends to reorient its platform to appeal to that demographic.

In Tom Alison, who runs Facebook’s app for Meta, says the service is changing to reflect a “greater focus on young adults” compared to other users. “Facebook is still for everyone, but to be ready for the next generation of social media consumers, we’ve made significant changes with young adults in mind,” he wrote.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because Meta executives have been trying to win over “young adults” for years in an effort to better compete with TikTok. Mark Zuckerberg said almost recently that he wanted to make young adults the company’s “North Star.” And Alison and Zuckerberg have been talking about the Facebook app pivoting toward a feed instead of one based on user connections.

That change is already underway. Alison said the company’s AI advancements have already improved recommendations for reels and feeds, and that “advanced recommendation technology will power more products” over the next year. She added that private sharing between users is also increasing, with more and more users sharing videos (although there’s no word on the plan to return messaging to the main app).

Notably, Alison’s note makes no mention of the “metaverse,” which Zuckerberg also once saw as a central part of the company’s future. Instead, she says “leveraging AI-enabled new product capabilities” is an important goal, as well as attracting younger users. That’s also not surprising, given that Meta and Zuckerberg have recently tested some of the company’s metaverse ambitions as advancements in AI.

But it’s also unclear how successful Meta will be in its efforts to win over young adults. Although Alison says Facebook has seen “five-quarters of healthy growth in young adult app usage in the US and Canada,” with 40 million daily active young adult users, that’s still a relatively small percentage of the company’s reported 205 million daily U.S. Facebook users. in February, the last time it broke down the number of users of the app.

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