Follow the story of the evolution of Facebook’s News Feed in the fifth episode of Land of the Giants: The Facebook / Meta Disruption

Facebook used to be, believe it or not, cool.

But a lot has changed since the early days of News Feed, when it was full of status updates and photos of friends. Facebook has become cluttered with brands and pages vying for eyeballs. It’s become a place where people, especially teenagers and young adults, don’t feel as comfortable sharing their lives.

Now, after spending the last four years trying to fix the News Feed by making it more friends and family oriented, Facebook is going the other way: showing you more entertaining content from people you know. don’t know. This new “Discovery Engine” push aims to be more like TikTok, which has captured the attention of the younger generation that Facebook is desperate to win back.

The result is an “updated vision of how the Facebook app is going to cater to the next generation of people who are going to use it,” says Tom Alison, Facebook app manager at Meta, in what marks his first in-depth podcast interview since taking on the role in July 2021.

We take a look at the past, present and future of the Facebook feed for our fifth episode of the new season of Land of the Giants, Vox Media Podcast Network’s award-winning narrative podcast series about the most influential tech companies of our time. This season, Recode and The Verge have teamed up over seven episodes to tell the story of Facebook’s journey to becoming Meta, featuring interviews with current and former executives.

This episode also features comments from Nick Clegg, Meta’s chief policy officer, on the implications of the company’s increased takeover of what billions of users see in their Facebook and Instagram feeds every day.

“In a weird way going forward, we’re going to do what we’ve been told to do for a long time,” Clegg said. “If you listen to the [former Facebook employee and whistleblower] Frances Haugen’s kind of storytelling…it’s oh my God, they’re just spoon-feeding people with hate speech. …Of course, that was nonsense…because the vast majority of content people saw on Facebook was driven, of course, by our systems, but also by their own choices, who their friends are, what groups they belong to, what content they engage with, and so on.

But that changes with the new Discovery Engine strategy. To make Facebook and Instagram more like TikTok, Meta will use AI to provide users with more content from strangers. What will this push mean for the future of Facebook and how will we use it?

Listen to the fifth episode of Land of the Giants: The Facebook / Meta Disruptionand watch the first four episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.