Facebook’s algorithm is changing to compete with TikTok.

Facebook Employees of Facebook were recently given a new instruction that might have far-reaching repercussions: make the app’s feed more similar to that of TikTok.

It wasn’t going to be enough for the company to just transfer their short-form video product known as Reels from Instagram to Facebook. The executives were keeping a close eye on what TikTok was up to and were becoming increasingly concerned that they weren’t doing enough to compete. Earlier this year, while having discussions with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, they came to the conclusion that Facebook needed to completely redesign the feed.

The plan was laid out in an internal memo from late April that was obtained by The Verge. It was written by Tom Alison, the Meta executive in charge of Facebook, and it was obtained by The Verge. Rather than prioritising posts from accounts that people follow, Facebook’s main feed will start heavily recommending posts regardless of where they come from, similar to how TikTok works. And many years after Messenger and Facebook were separated into their own applications, the two will be linked back together in a manner that is analogous to the messaging capabilities of TikTok.

The proposed adjustments, when coupled with an increased focus on Reels, demonstrate how forcefully Meta is responding to the rise of TikTok, which has rapidly become a credible competitor to its dominance in social media. Even while Instagram has already begun to take on a more TikTok-like appearance due to its emphasis on Reels, the company’s management are holding out hope that a treatment of the app more akin to Facebook can jumpstart the platform’s sluggish growth and possibly entice younger users to return.

This situation is comparable to when Facebook imitated Snapchat while the latter was experiencing rapid expansion, but the stakes are perhaps bigger this time around. The ability of Meta to manage obstacles to its advertising business is being questioned by investors. And with its stock price already taking a beating, the firm needs to demonstrate that it is capable of growth if Zuckerberg is going to continue funding his vision of the metaverse.

The risk for us is that we disregard this as not being valuable to people as a form of social communication and connection, and we fail to progress as a result. This was expressed to the staff by Alison in a comment that was placed underneath his April message, which I read.

Following my request for Meta to comment on his message, the business arranged for me to speak with Alison for his first interview since he assumed leadership of the social network that is currently the largest in the world a year ago. He states that the new objective for Facebook is to construct the “discovery engine,” a phrase that was also stated as a top priority by CEO Mark Zuckerberg during Meta’s most recent earnings call with investors. He says that the “discovery engine” would allow users to find content more easily.


Even though it first grew by flooding Facebook and Instagram with advertisements, Alison admits that the company was slow to perceive the competitive threat posed by TikTok during our two most recent talks. This is despite the fact that TikTok initially developed rapidly. But today, Meta views the video app as progressively encroaching on its home turf of social networking. Alison points to the growing popularity of private messaging in TikTok and the introduction of a dedicated tab for viewing films from friends as examples of how the video app is gaining ground.

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