I’m calling it: Facebook is over. Done. Kaput. And not because your mother is on it.
But that’s a part of it.
Over the years, since they let old people start using it, Facebook has provided not only a means to keep tabs on people from high school, but a reliable boost to the internet’s communicative power in ways that have changed the world. The more people bought into its presence, the more valuable the space became until Facebook grew into a massive portal to the rest of the internet. Thus, the more valuable it became.
Facebook is over because of that critical mass. There’s just too much information flowing through the tubes from its 1.94 billion — billion! — monthly active users, and not enough opportunity to create revenue.
Everyone who minds the data on their Facebook business page noticed a hard hit back in June 2015 that effectively halved the penetration of a business page’s individual posts, right around the same time they started offering the pay-to-boost model.
It worked like a dream, at least as far as Facebook was concerned. Companies — mostly small businesses — started pushing a little money into their Facebook promotions, five bucks here, 10 there. Its profits doubled that year.
Another big tweak to the algorithm came just this month, imposing some of those same standards to personal pages and tightening restrictions to business pages. For businesses, Facebook engagement is down by design. To me, it makes my personal page less valuable.
Once the old farts like me bail out, there might be nothing left but bots and PR — already my children and their friends don’t use it — or, at least, not in the way it’s intended.
The problem is that Facebook has entwined itself irrevocable into its users’ lives. I’ve got message threads that go back years, and it’s a handy backup for contacts that have disappeared from my phone.
Since it went public in 2012, the company has been building server farms all over the world (there’s one in Rutherford County, NC as well as Lulea, Sweden), creating a capacity able to be bested only by Google and YouTube, which are sort of the same thing now.
No one can catch them, and no one has the widespread buy-in to replace them. And because Facebook is completely unaware of its own demise, it will lurch along perhaps forever, like a party that everyone’s invited to, but the food isn’t very good.