How would you feel logging on Facebook as an all-video platform?
Nicola Mendelsohn, director of Facebook’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said that if the social network continues to promote video content at the expense of the written word, the platform will become all video in five years’ time.
At the same news conference in London yesterday, Mendelsohn also suggested that by then, 360 video will be “commonplace” and the VR industry will only grow. (Albeit Facebook owns Oculus Rift, the virtual reality outfit, so the company is expected to say that.)
“The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” she said. “It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.”
While there might be some truth in Mendelsohn’s statements, we must remember that, much like an arena in The Hunger Games, Facebook’s universe is an environment completely under its own control.
So instead of considering her statement as a hazardous guess of what Facebook users will choose to do in future, we should take it as it: an underlining of Facebook’s strategic imperative. In those terms, it’s not a surprise that the social network will continue to promote video on its platform.
On a closer look, it’s clear that Facebook has all but excised the messaging function from its main Facebook app, as well as its mobile site. If you want written words, you need to head over to Facebook Messenger.
But at the same time, it’s worth remembering that mobile data is not necessarily a commodity in all parts of the world as it is in the US. Switching to an “all video” Facebook platform would mean slamming the door on many of those low-connected people – which is against the company’s recent endeavors.
So a more realistic scenario is seeing the main Facebook app going ‘all video in the US and select other developed markets‘, while remaining a far more mixed platform elsewhere.
In any case, Facebook’s claims of ‘declining text’ are not in line with the power of the written online. Surely Facebook is not retiring Messenger, is it? And while SMS might be in decline, text messaging in general is still thriving.
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