Facebook rebrands its image and faces a slow response from users

“We need to reimagine the way we organize people,” David Marcus, Facebook’s head of messaging products, said at the f8 developers conference on Wednesday. “We need to experiment. We have to make [experiments] successful and scale.” A number of Facebook’s chief gripes in the past couple of years had centered around how the company handles its content, but it seems as though rebranding its image isn’t about entirely shifting from Facebook-ish solutions toward something entirely new and different.

In September, Facebook released a community check-in app called Nextstop, prompting critics to wonder what it all meant. Nextstop is a program meant to let users instantly share where they are, see where friends are, or share restaurant recommendations. It is powered by Facebook, which means you can see where your friends are, discover places you might like to visit and post a review.

Its launch drew attention because of Facebook’s track record of pushing business away from user-created content to their own personal pages. After all, if Facebook users create content on Nextstop, then we are really only talking about their experience, not those of friends and family members who have no stake in the thing. It almost seemed like Facebook would be killing native content all together with this announcement. And though it seems like Nextstop is just another tool that Facebook can use to make information-sharing more seamless and compelling for its own users, Twitter users took it in stride, which is probably a good sign for Nextstop.

But the Nextstop-like announcements didn’t stop. This week, Facebook also introduced a “notification drawer” called Snapchat Stories, which consolidates your snaps and posts from friends and groups into one place. Facebook originally attempted to position itself as a service for sharing, so it was pretty obvious where this was coming from. But Facebook is also known for its lapses in censoring content, and the new messaging tool tries to assuage users’ fears. “We don’t want to be the exact same as Snapchat, but we also aren’t trying to be them,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s head of product. “We’re focused on putting the people at the center of what we do.”

Maybe Facebook believes that in revamping its image, it can convince itself that it is more than just the world’s biggest social media platform, so that the inevitable backlash will slow to a trickle. But if Facebook wants to create a new identity, it has to do more than take stock of what it’s doing. For one, it has to prove that it can hire and retain people who care more about creating good experiences than understanding that they are needed to trick and deceive users on their terms. The kind of people who may see through this so-called “reimagining” of how the company operates is already there.

Read the full story at Business Insider.

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