A leaked internal memo reveals Facebook’s near-term plans to restructure its main feed around video content, such as Reels and stories.
Facebook plans to turn its main feed into a ‘discovery engine’ for video content, according to an internal memo sent to employees.
The Verge obtained the memo and published it in its entirety. Though the memo is being revealed today for the first time, it was first sent on April 27.
That means Facebook is already a month and a half into executing its ‘near-term’ plans. We may end up seeing these changes roll out sooner than later.
Here are the must-know highlights from the memo written by Tom Alison, head of Facebook.
Enhancing Content Discoverability
The buzzword Facebook is throwing around to describe its vision is ‘discovery engine.’
Alison says that’s what he wants to turn Facebook into – a place where people can go and get recommendations for content they’re likely to enjoy.
He lists three near-term priorities that will help Facebook realize its vision:
- Make Reels successful.
- Build world class recommendations technology.
- Unlock messaging-based sharing.
Turning Facebook into a ‘discovery engine’ simply means recommending more content from accounts users aren’t connected to.
Historically, Facebook has prioritized content published or shared by connections like friends and family.
Unconnected content has never been a focus of Facebook’s feed. Turning the feed into a stream of endless discovery means it will have to pull in content from all over the Facebook network.
How Does This Satisfy Facebook’s Top Three Priorities?
Make Reels Successful
While Facebook plans to enhance the discoverability of all content, it identifies its biggest gap as short-form video.
To fill that gap, Facebook is making Reels more discoverable by integrating the short videos in more sections throughout the website.
Build World-Class Recommendation Technology
To accomplish its goal of becoming a discovery engine, Facebook plans to develop a recommendation system that’s responsive to peoples’ interests, able to identify trending content, and capable of making responsible selections.
Unlock Messaging-Based Sharing
People are increasingly sharing and discovering content privately through messenger, rather than publicly in the main feed.
Facebook plans to lean into that by enabling more ways to share content through its messaging apps.
What Will The Facebook Feed Look Like?
The Verge’s Alex Heath spoke directly with Alison, the author of the Facebook memo, to get more information about what’s changing.
Based on Heath’s conversation with the head of Facebook, this is how he describes what the main feed will look like.
“Here’s how the future Facebook app will work in practice: the main tab will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts its discovery engine recommends from across both Facebook and Instagram. It’ll be a more visual, video-heavy experience with clearer prompts to direct message friends a post. To make messaging even more prominent, Facebook is working on placing a user’s Messenger inbox at the top right of the app, undoing the infamous decision to separate the two apps eight years ago.”
When Will These Changes Roll Out?
It’s not known when the transition to Facebook as a discovery engine will take place, though Alison sounds eager to execute his vision.
The best way to prepare for this change, if Facebook is a priority for you and your business, is to get comfortable with creating and publishing more short form video.
While Facebook will continue to surface text and photo posts, they’ll be ancillary to the main attractions of Reels and stories.
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