Over the last couple of years there have been huge changes to the Facebook platform, as a business, you will have noticed organic reach and engagement drop on your posts and a push towards Facebook advertising and Facebook groups.
Mark Zuckerberg has now released a lengthy statement describing his vision for the platform for 2020 and beyond. In his post, he describes setting himself yearly goals but has decided that this decade he will concentrate on long term goals and how they will impact the world over the next decade. So, what does this mean for Facebook?
Zuckerberg talked in his post about how Facebook was originally intended to give a voice to his generation which he felt weren’t being listened to. Now more than ever there is a need for a platform that empowers the younger generation. We have all seen the news of devastating wildfires in Australia and other climate change disasters around the world and it is his hope that Facebook will help draw attention to issues like this as well as costs of education, housing and healthcare. Facebook also plans to provide funding for younger entrepreneurs, scientists, and leaders which could lead to some really interesting innovations.
How much this changes the platform for businesses remains to be seen, but we can expect that there will be a lot of activism on the platform in 2020. One thing is for sure though, if you feel passionately about an issue as a business now is the time to get involved in the conversation on Facebook!
A New Private Social Platform
Last year Facebook let businesses know that users could expect to see less from business pages and more content from their friends, families and groups and this looks like something Facebook plans to continue to do. Building a sense of community and purpose amongst likeminded people is at the heart of Facebook's development plans.
As a business, you can help build communities around your products and services through Facebook groups. We have seen businesses use groups very effectively to learn more about their customers, launch new products and engage in conversations that aren’t always possible through pages.
This announcement is the most exciting for small businesses. Facebook recognises that there is a disparity in the online opportunities available to small businesses and those utilised by big brands and corporations. Online selling tools on their sister platform Instagram and through Facebook messenger will be rolled out to small businesses and a low cost way to send and receive payments through WhatsApp is being developed (psst, if you haven’t already downloaded WhatsApp for business we highly recommend as another tool to deliver excellent customer service).
The Next Computing Platform
Exciting technological advances are signaled by Mark Zuckerberg with the goal of giving us the ability to be “present” anywhere. Facebook are already working on augmented reality glasses which have the potential to reshape the workplace. Augmented reality glasses would allow teams to interact in a more immersive way without having to be in the same office space. This opens up huge possibilities for remote working opportunities and means that people wouldn’t need to relocate for work, something that can only be good news for rural businesses who often struggle with recruitment.
New Forms of Governance
Documentaries like The Great Hack on Netflix (if you haven’t already, this is must see viewing) shone a spotlight on ways that Facebook data can be used to influence and manipulate voters, so much so that Mark Zuckerberg was called in front of Congress to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Facebook is now looking at ways it can take responsibility for data breaches and other missuses and is creating an Oversight Board that will create a way for online communities to govern the content they see. Users will be able to appeal content decisions with an independent board. We hope that initiatives like this mean that Facebook becomes a more positive and empowering social platform and we see an end to online bullying and trolling.
If you would like to find out more you can read the full post on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page.