For some time now, Meta Platforms Inc. has been caught in a battle with the immensely popular TikTok app, and today Meta essentially provided confirmation.

A leaked memo from April, sent by executives at Meta and viewed by The Verge, told staff that the Facebook app was going to see a major redesign to make it look more like TikTok. For one thing, this will mean promoting content on people’s timelines regardless of origin. That’s how TikTok introduces people to new content.

The memo states that Facebook will become a “Discovery Engine,” promoting content from all over the app. Meta has already introduced Reels, where video content is promoted on people’s timelines from selected users, but Meta wants to focus more on this kind of content promotion. In short, Facebook will have something like TikTok’s “For You” feature.

This will consist of not only video content appearing from strangers on people’s timelines, but any content, including photos or articles. Posts from friends and family are going to become mixed up in a sea of, well, anything the Meta algorithm wants to promote. By the sounds of it, Facebook is about to become rather less personal and more universal.

The challenge Meta has been faced with is that for the most part it’s losing its younger users, many of whom have gone over to TikTok. Tom Alison, head of the Facebook app, wrote in a memo that Meta needs to show people it is in the process of evolving. “The risk for us is that we dismiss this as being not valuable to people as a form of social communication and connection and we fail to evolve,” he said.

After speaking with Alison, The Verge confirmed that the focus will be on promoting video content and people’s stories, with more emphasis on the visual aspect in people’s timelines. Messenger will again become part of the Facebook app, with the inbox placed at the top right of the page.

“What we’re really finding is that people want to connect over content,” Alison said. “And so a lot of where we’re going with Facebook is trying to bring you the best content that’s going to really cater to your interests, but then making it super easy to share that and discuss and connect with other people in your network over that.”

Photo: Dima Solomin/Unsplash

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