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Facebook Docs Reveal Internal Analysis

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  • When a new competition enters the room, Facebook has historically cloned that rival’s hero product.
  • For Snapchat, it was Stories. With the rise of TikTok, it was Reels.
  • The leaked documents from Facebook docs shed light on what Facebook thinks of its biggest rivals.

Instagram and Facebook are terrified of losing the attention and affection of young users.

That’s one of the reasons that employees at Facebook and Instagram (both now under Meta Platforms) have been studying teen behaviors and exchanging ideas, like amplifying content creators, to compete in the marketplace.

Scattered throughout the tens of thousands of pages of leaked documents included in Facebook articles, were snippets of these fears and insights about how the platforms are approaching competing with their social media peers.

One of the main concerns: TikTok, and more specifically, how the app fits into Meta’s concern of losing the youth.

But TikTok isn’t the only rival driving Meta’s next moves. For Facebook and Instagram, many platforms are the competition.

Certain expected platforms, such as YouTube and Snapchat, are mentioned multiple times throughout the leaked documents, which were included in the disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by Frances Haugen’s legal counsel. . A consortium of news organizations, including Insider, obtained the redacted versions received by Congress.

But less obvious platforms like


Loose

,


Discord

, and even text messages, all were named.

“None of the apps in the app family is the preferred way to communicate with best friends,” reads a slide in a paper titled “The Power of Identities: Why Teens and Young Adults Choose Instagram.”

Competition between

A document within the Facebook Papers plots the competitors on a graph.

Frances Haugen


What Facebook identifies as competition is a useful indicator of what it might absorb or imitate next.

For example, the prevalence of TikTok in these documents between 2020 and 2021 coincides with the launch of Instagram and the massive push of Reels, Facebook’s TikTok clone.

Some of the documents dated early 2021 mention platforms like Discord and


Twitch

– two competitors in the space of the games. As Meta pursues more features in the games space, including virtual reality and games optimized for the metaverse, these platforms could be a potential source of inspiration.

A Meta spokesperson declined to provide a comment to Insider for this story, but provided the following statement in October: “These documents demonstrate what we’ve been saying for a long time: that we operate in a highly competitive space. We compete with TikTok, Snapchat. , Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and many others because of people’s time and attention, which drives us to improve the experiences we offer and give people more options. “

To better understand where Facebook and Instagram could go, Insider reviewed hundreds of pages of the documents leaked by Haugen.

Here’s what Facebook and Instagram think of their competitors, from TikTok to LinkedIn, based on documentation seen by Insider:

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