Facebook knows how to make money. It just doesn’t know its identity.
In a fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday (Jan. 31), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that overflowing users’ news feeds with viral content, headlines, and brand posts isn’t working out. Neither is making those users watch an endless array of video clips. To contend with those limitations, Facebook has decided that it’s now about “meaningful social interactions.”
What does that mean? If you listen to Zuckerberg, it sounds an awful lot like Snapchat.
“We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts and feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps,” Zuckerberg said. (Stories are short videos that users take and share with their friends, only to have them disappear after 24 hours.) “That’s because Stories is a better format for sharing multiple video clips throughout your day. The growth of Stories will have an impact on how we build product and think about our business, including WhatsApp and Instagram, which are the No. 1 and No. 2 most-used Stories products in the world.”
Facebook has long included Stories in its apps (including its main one), but the company did not invent the feature—Snapchat did. Facebook has been regularly ripping off elements of Snapchat after the latter’s CEO, Evan Spiegel rebuffed a takeover offer from Facebook in 2013.
So while a struggling Snapchat is trying to transform itself into the anti-Facebook, Facebook is on a path to becoming…Snapchat.