Mark Zuckerberg Should Make Facebook ‘Facebook’ Again

  • Mark Zuckerberg is betting on the metaverse, but he should refocus on other things.
  • Meta’s CEO must prioritize increasing engagement and revenue on core business apps.
  • Meta will release its third quarter results next week and analysts have called it a “decisive quarter”.

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is expected to start focusing on building Facebook Facebook Again.

Over the past year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has focused on his passion project: the Metaverse. It’s a squishy concept that can describe a number of things, but in the broadest sense, it’s the idea of ​​people connecting with each other through virtual worlds rather than a traditional social network.

But as I wrote recently, Meta’s Great Pivot in the Metaverse Was a Disasterwith little to show other than a poor experience, more and more expensive helmets, and its stock plunges more than 60% this year.

Zuckerberg should instead reduce that and prioritize bolstering his company’s core apps, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which have felt largely neglected while Meta poured $15 billion into its metaverse project.

Facing the barrel of a potential recession, Meta is expected to increase engagement and revenue for these apps, which have billions of users worldwide. Meanwhile, Horizon Worlds, Meta’s main metaverse app, has just 200,000 monthly active users, The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

In particular, even though Instagram has faced some headwinds recently, it remains the jewel in Meta’s crown. Keeping users happy with the app and building a plan for the years to come should be the company’s #1 priority. Meta said in its second-quarter results that Reels were growing and accounted for 20% of the time people spend on Instagram.

Instead of angry users in trying to make Instagram more of a clone of TikTok, Meta should spend its time and energy threading the needle to monetize this usage as much as possible without turning people off.

It should also look to do the same with WhatsApp, the world’s most popular communication app. The platform does not include advertisements, in an effort to maintain its identity as a user-friendly service first and foremost. But Meta has promised to capitalize on its popularity in other ways to generate revenue, including paid features.

Yet, instead of focusing on its proven applications, Meta is investing billions of dollars in an idea that perhaps see the gains five or ten years later.

If left unchecked, a gamble of this magnitude risks alienating investors – and staff – while facing choppy economic waters.

Zuckerberg will show us his report card later this week

Mark Zuckerberg in avatar during Facebook or Meta Connect 2022

Mark Zuckerberg in avatar during Connect 2022

Facebook/Meta



Meta will release its third quarter results next week, and Wall Street has been scared before. Analyst Neil Campling called a recent presentation of the metaverse by Zuckerberg “desperate” and said “no wonder investors are desperate.”

Investment firm Bernstein called it a “watershed quarter” in a recent note and said engagement numbers will be “critical” for the company this quarter.

“We believe that unless Meta provides additional insights on the call suggesting overall engagement across its family of apps is stable, the bearish case will only intensify,” Bernstein analysts wrote.

Analysts believe a turnaround is possible by the end of the year and into 2023 if Meta, among other things, increases the advertising load on its TikTok-like video product, Reels.

Meta’s revenue fell in the second quarter, the first time it had done so in the decade the company was publicly traded. Zuckerberg blamed it on an “economic downturn” that was impacting the digital advertising industry.

Apple was a key part of the problem. Last year, the tech giant introduced an iOS privacy change that asked users if they wanted to opt out of being tracked in other companies’ apps. Meta responded at the time, saying advertisers “may see an overall decrease in ad performance and personalization and an increase in cost per action.”

Seeking to escape a future scenario where Apple is a dominant force that can cripple his software business with a single blow, Zuckerberg attempts to invent the next future platform.

But it’s rarely the incumbents who create the next big platform, which is why Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision looks like a better fit for a VC-backed startup than a company-wide rallying cry.

Apple has also explored future platforms, but much more quietly than Meta (its its own VR headset would arrive soon). But the company has not been punished for this by Wall Street, as it is still focused on growing its core business areas, unlike Meta.

That hasn’t stopped Zuckerberg from having his metaverse push a Meta contest against Apple, so it’s clearly taking up space.

“It’s a contest of philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything themselves and integrating tightly they’re building a better customer experience,” Zuckerberg said of the company’s strategy. ‘Apple at a general meeting this year with employees, according to The edge.

But maybe Zuckerberg should pull a page from Apple’s book, prioritize proven cash cows to satisfy investors, and relegate metaverse stuff to the garage where lunar projects belong.

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