Things were already not good for the company created by Mark Zuckerberg. But it’s getting worse. As Facebook tries to manage a huge crisis ranging from complaints about exposing people to mental health problems and even putting democracies at risk, its users are getting tired.
Even after rebranding itself to Meta (in what appears to be a suspicious attempt to change focus), the humor of its users continues to decrease.
A recently released study by Harris Brand found that the company’s score of trustworthiness dropped to 6.2% after the rebranding was announced.
That’s not the first piece of data regarding the lack of trust felt by Facebook’s users. At the end of October, the platform was considered as the least trustworthy social network for the second year in a row, according to Insider Intelligence and eMarketer’s “US Digital Trust Survey“.
While Facebook tries to contain its crisis, as marketers and managers, this concern should be alarming. This is especially true if your company depends on Meta platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) for its survival.
How do you avoid letting Facebook’s fall in confidence spill over into your results?
Summarizing the impacts from the Facebook Papers
The leak of Facebook’s internal documents resulted in health, democracy, businesses, security and transparency all being the main topics of discussion across a variety of sectors and industries.
Because of this, Facebook has been strongly criticized for the way it manages complex and impactful topics.
According to Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee that brought attention to many of these documents, image and profit are Facebook’s top priority.
Facebook knew about the harm that they were potentially causing to the mental and emotional health of its users. Even democracies were threatened, but the company still did not make changes.
A great example is the documents that showed that Facebook gave priority to content that irritated people as this content creates higher engagement and keeps people’s attention for longer periods of time.
They are losing the most precious user base for a Social Media
The media crises come at a crucial moment for the company’s business. It’s losing young users.
According to a survey by Piper Sendler, only 2% of young people have Facebook as their favorite social media and only 27% said that they use the platform.
It’s concerning for the company. If you look at the history of social media tools since Friendster and MySpace, young people were not just responsible for spreading, but also maintaining the popular status of these services.
As we look at the quick growth of TikTok among younger people, It’s easy to understand the effect. Social media is about connecting people. If your friends are not there, you will leave. And youngsters are the most engaged public.
Facebook, oops, Meta tries to bring good news
Since failing to successfully show the rose-colored world of Meta and the Metaverse’s possibilities, the company is now trying to demonstrate that it is committed to its users.
Last week, for the first time, “Meta” released data about how often people see bullying or harassing posts on its apps.
From July to September, for every 10,000 views on Meta’s social networks, 14 to 15 views on Facebook were of content with bullying and harassment while on Instagram the number ranged from 5 to 6 views.
Meta said it took down 9.2 million posts deemed content with a harassing nature on Facebook and 7.8 million of the same types of posts on Instagram.
Among the main actions to face bullying and harassment, the company is implementing warning screens to discourage posts and comments that could be perceived as bullying and harassment.
The company is also blocking ads based on “sensitive” areas, like race/ethnicity, religious, and political beliefs, sexual orientation and more, according to a post on its “Meta for Business” blog.
Even though it sounds great, I can’t help but wonder: is this a real start to actually solving Facebook users’ problems with the platform?
With all the latest happenings at Meta (including the so-called Metaverse), how far is the smokescreen for Facebook’s controversies, and what is the real possibility of the market’s future on social media?
And how does this directly affect your brand?
It’s always a risk to leave your entire strategy supported only by social media platforms.
I’m saying that because if all of a sudden you lose your account, the platform’s algorithm changes, or people just stop liking that social media… you’re doomed.
And when it comes to Zuckerberg’s platforms… I daresay it’s even riskier.
This is not the first scandal involving Facebook & others, and it won’t be the last.
Disinformation, privacy, content moderation woes, users mental and emotional healthy VS engagement… these all are the Achilles heels of the company, whether its Facebook, Meta or any other name the owner might want.
As Facebook’s popularity and trust declines day by day, it’s hard to say how users will behave.
What we do know is that it’s practically impossible to think about Digital Marketing without including social networks. It’s one of the main places where the public congregates online, where they talk, shop, and connect themselves with the brands.
But we also know that relying on a single social platform (or a single company, if your focus is on Facebook and Instagram) is a risky move.
Facebook arrived by taking down social networks of the past, such as MySpace and Orkut.
Now, TikTok has been gaining traction despite Instagram’s efforts to contain the competitor. When WhatsApp went down along with Facebook’s entire network of apps last month, Telegram gained a whopping 70 million users.
And in this endless dance of social networks, the one company that may lose here, is yours (if you’re not careful).
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a presence on social media – They are and will continue to be a good way to connect with your audience for a long time yet!
But consider, now more than ever, building your own points of contact with your audience, without relying on third-party vehicles.
Think about collecting first-party data. You can have a solid email marketing strategy, for example. So you can interact with your public directly, without relying just on third platforms.
Diversifying your content and betting on your own strategies is still the best way to shield yourself from the volatility of social media and build a solid growth base for your brand.
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