Opinion: Is Mark Zuckerberg taking the first step towards transforming Facebook into Yahoo 2.0?

Yahoo was once the most popular website on the planet, the one place everyone on the internet seemed to touch at least once per online session. However, after an ignominious slide, Yahoo is just another site that has fans in parts of Asia and offers niche products.

Did Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook down a similar path?

That’s the big question investors need to start asking as Meta Platforms Inc.

the chief executive is scrambling to change his strategy amid clear signs of distress. After its very first drop in users three months agoFacebook announced its first quarterly revenue decline in history on Wednesdayand Zuckerberg’s response is to emulate a rival and send the company into dangerous waters that have already nearly killed the platform and taken American democracy with it.

Zuckerberg is changing the company’s core apps to become much more reliant on artificial intelligence to drive the content its users see, seeking to emulate growing Chinese rival TikTok – a major change to give the algorithm more power. power over what people see on Facebook and Instagram. Zuckerberg told analysts on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that Meta’s apps will rely more on its discovery engine, rather than the people or things you follow, for content. This means users will see (and already see) content from complete strangers in their feeds and videos, just like TikTok.

“Right now, about 15% of the content on a person’s Facebook feed, and slightly more than their Instagram feed, is recommended by our AI from people, groups, or accounts you don’t follow. “, Zuckerberg said. “And we expect those numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”

Facebook has been lucky enough to survive a series of scandals in recent years, from allowing election disinformation to run wild at sale of private user data at help spread incitement to violence which led to the storming of the United States Capitol. Yet apparently nothing has been learned, as the company, or at least its algorithm, will now decide what foreigner content you will see.

Facebook and the world have already learned that bad actors will learn to play with this algorithm, which will lead to the dominance of inflammatory posts or videos, content that will divide strangers against strangers, on a scale even more chilling than today. If we’re lucky, the result will be that Facebook users decide it’s time to move on to other online destinations, just as Yahoo fans did.

While the algorithm takes on Facebook and Instagram even more – the content moderation aspect of the two social media sites is already mostly handled by AI, Zuckerberg said in response to a question on the call, showing at just how incapable Facebook’s technology is of succeeding. in his goals – Zuckerberg will expend his human capital on his chimerical “metaverse” dream. Zuckerberg’s grand vision is to create a digital universe populated by those who want to escape the real world of grass, flowers, air, sky, animals and humans by wearing a clumsy headset so you can hang out with your friends in digital disco or meeting room. or wherever you want.

Virtual reality has only proven popular among a small segment of the population, and it’s still too clunky for mainstream adoption, something Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang has already learned. So instead, all those parents and grandparents on Facebook, the old ones that Zuckerberg no longer cares about, will be tended to by bots, while his minions focus on a new world: the uncomfortable and potentially dystopian future.

Facebook and Instagram have grown tremendously because they appealed to the masses, not just power users or the techies developing these products. If Meta loses those users, its apps will continue their current downward spiral – decline in digital ads, recession or not – the same way Yahoo failed to go mobile, with a complex site and services that couldn’t adapt easily even if they tried to copy their younger rivals, just like Facebook does now.

Zuckerberg is king of Meta, with full control over the founders, so what he’s saying is the law of the land – the power that Yang and the parade of CEOs who took over Yahoo when he wasn’t in charge have never had. No one is going to stop Zuckerberg from this bet on an algorithm-driven future, so investors have to decide if they want to risk that there’s nothing ahead of him but a downward spiral to the same fate as Silicon Valley. has already seen from a once popular web portal.

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