Facebook’s new “favorite” feature, which has just been unveiled through independent sleuthing, could be a bid to stay competitive in a slowly diversifying social media world.
We all know that for over a decade, Facebook has maintained a curious hegemony over the social media landscape – although Twitter has taken the short form audience and LinkedIn is useful for work-related stuff, the vast majority of American users and many others around the world use Facebook as a social media default.
Not only that, they also use one universal default friends list to broadcast their messages. A story in The Verge today shows how Facebook has tried to get users to micromanage subsets of friends lists over the years, with little success.
“Favorites appears to be an attempt to encourage people to share more on Facebook, without worrying about a ballooning list of casual acquaintances accumulated over the years,” writes The Verge’s Jon Porter. “It’s a problem that we were writing about way back in 2014 and, if my own Facebook friends list is any indication, the problem has only gotten worse in the years since.”
Fast forward to today’s current social media reality, where many users are diversifying into Instagram to try to get away from Facebook’s broad-spectrum broadcasting model, and its strange and inscrutable algorithms that dictate which friend posts you see on your feed.
Seeing this, Facebook has reportedly decided to launch the new “favorites” feature, which is leading some to suggest that, although favorites solves a legitimate problem, it may also be a bid to retain eyeballs.
Independent blogger Jane Manchun Wong, who actually found preliminary code work in process, describes Facebook’s favorites as similar to Instagram’s close friends.
“Facebook is working on (sic) ‘Favorites’ list for sending Stories, similar to Instagram’s Close Friends list,” Wong tweeted way back in May.
Josh Constine at TechCrunch reported on Friday that Facebook confirmed the feature’s development process to the publication.
“It lets users designate certain friends as Favorites, and then instantly send them their Facebook Story or a camera-based post from Messenger to just those people, each in their own message thread,” Constine wrote.
If it takes, Facebook ‘favorites’ is due to change social media use in a few different ways. Many users will have more of a sophisticated approach to multicasting messages to various people. And again, Facebook could keep more users in the fold, rather than losing them to other platforms.
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