In early May, days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors the company wanted to be the best platform for millions of digital content creators to make a living, researchers at the company spotlighted a major obstacle for its flagship app.
Public figures and creators “lack a reason to be on FB,” according to a more than 50-page presentation shared internally at the time. That was hurting its chances of attracting young adults in the U.S., which Facebook’s own research had shown were shunning the blue app at alarming rates—in part because they viewed Facebook posts as “negative, fake, and boring.”
The internal documents and interviews with executives who work with or for the company reveal Facebook’s scramble to fix its problem with attracting young users, including by wooing creators who have flocked to other platforms such as TikTok and YouTube. They also represent an unusually candid admission that the company’s past approach to influencers, whose sway over online fans skyrocketed last year, had been inadequate.