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Facebook's leaked memo shows it's improving its algorithm to be more like TikTok

Rebbeca Ren

posted on June 17, 2022 0:24 am

In order to compete with TikTok, Facebook is making changes to its "discovery engine" feed that will give recommended posts more weight than posts from accounts that users follow, according to an internal memo from April that The Verge got a hold of.

The changes are meant to make the Facebook app more visual and video-heavy, and to use algorithms to make more recommendations for users. On the last Meta earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that half the time people spend on Facebook is watching video. 

The main tab will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts its discovery engine recommends from across both Facebook and Instagram. It's also working on placing user's Messenger inbox in the upper-right corner of the app to make chatting even more apparent. 

Algorithms, which were a big part of why TikTok took off so quickly, will play a bigger role in how Facebook distributes content. When compared to Facebook, which is mostly used for keeping in contact with friends and family, TikTok's capacity to precisely monitor user behavior and give them with more material that interests them helps it to attract more users and retain users for much longer.

Right now, only about 11 percent of content in Facebook’s main feed is unconnected, The Verge said, and to date, those posts have mostly surfaced through reshares people post to their network, not the company’s AI.

Tom Alison, who is in charge of Facebook, said that instead of giving more weight to posts from accounts people follow, Facebook's main feed will start recommending posts from anywhere, like TikTok. 

The last time Facebook made such a big change was in 2018, when Zuckerberg said that users' News Feeds would be changed to show more posts from their friends and family and less posts from businesses and media outlets. This was in response to user feedback that the feed was "crowding out the personal moments that help us connect more with each other."

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has become the most downloaded social media app since 2020, surpassing Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.