If you feel like your Instagram and Facebook feeds have gotten worse, you’re far from the only one. Many users have complained about a significant uptick in the number of posts they’re served from accounts they don’t follow, courtesy of Meta’s annoying algorithm. With so many people deriding this change, you’d think the company would be working to reverse it.
Alas, it seems Meta is instead doubling down.
In Meta’s second quarter earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made clear that not only is he aware that people’s feeds are packed full of posts they didn’t sign up to see, but that this is actually the company’s plan. He also committed to make it twice as bad.
“One of the main transformations in our business right now is that social feeds are going from being driven primarily by the people and accounts you follow to increasingly also being driven by AI recommending content that you’ll find interesting from across Facebook or Instagram, even if you don’t follow those creators,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in prepared remarks.
“Right now, about 15% of content in a person’s Facebook feed and a little more than that of their Instagram feed is recommended by our AI from people, groups, or accounts that you don’t follow. We expect these numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”
It would be bad enough if Meta was just ignorant to how hated these changes are. Yet it seems Meta actually knows how much everyone despises them, and is determined to power through anyway. Earlier this week, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri addressed the widespread unpopularity of several of its changes, including the uptick in recommended posts, and reaffirmed that they’re happening regardless.
“Now, if you’re seeing things in your Feed that are recommendations that you’re not interested in, that means that we’re doing a bad job ranking, and we need to improve,” said Mosseri. “But we’re going to continue to try and get better at recommendations because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people.”
Never mind that many people don’t want to be reached by creators they don’t know.
According to Zuckerberg, these changes are actually beneficial for both engagement and the quality of users’ feeds, rather than irritating impediments to the content you actually want. Of course, there’s also the side benefit for Meta that it already knows how to effectively monetise such algorithm-led content. We are all but money piñatas in the dead eyes of Big Tech.
Meta doesn’t seem concerned that users will abandon it for greener, less detritus-strewn pastures, with Facebook’s Daily Active User count back on the upswing after experiencing its first ever decline late last year.