NUMBERS: Yes, Facebook is still part of the mix and no, it won’t be around for ever

This week Facebook for the first time reported a falling user metric and within days I clocked the first think piece wondering if it was now dead.

Dead with almost two billion daily users? Really?

It’s time to have a rational think about where Facebook is and what comes next.

Facebook is a company that owns four of the top five UK social media platforms. It owns Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger as well as the blue and white original Facebook platform.

What did the results say? In their press release Meta point to company turnover in 2021 increased by 37 per cent to 117 billion dollars and that daily active users were up by five per cent year-on-year. That said, clearly Wall Street analysts looked at the figures and didn’t like what they saw wiping billions of share value from the company in a day.

Facebook has long had its critics and there has been periodic movements to quit Facebook which have done little so far to arrest the upward trajectory.

There are definite legitimate criticisms with the Cambridge Analytica episode and others questioning the role that Big Tech play in the democratic process.

There is also an awkward future as this fascinating Twitter thread points out.

When I was a press officer I answered the phone to a range of titles I wasn’t personally keen on. But that’s just it. As a communicator what I personally think of a platform is irrelevant. The yardstick should be to ask if my audience is there. If it is then it makes sense to try and speak to people there. 

That said, I’ve long joked that until there was a better way to share cat videos then Facebook would be around for some time yet. I first made that observation well before TikTok was an invention. I’d say that TikTok is far better at distributing feline clips for most of the time.  

It’s next stated challenge is to build an immersive web ecosystem it has called the metaverse. This sounds too close to Second Life for my liking but we shall see if they succeed.

One day there will not be a Facebook just as there is no longer a News of the World.

But if if the data says your audience is there then its still part of the mix. 

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