Facebook Struggles to Stop Decline in ‘Original’ Sharing

Less than a year ago, leaders at Facebook convened to address a serious problem: people using the social network were posting fewer things about their personal lives for their friends to see, according to confidential company data about several types of content sharing that happen on Facebook, which was viewed by The Information.

Thus began an effort to deal with this long-term threat to Facebook’s primary moneymaker, the News Feed. Facebook set up a team in London to help develop a strategy to stop the double-digit decline in “original” sharing that happens on Facebook, according to four people with knowledge of the situation.

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Some at Facebook see those things as band-aid measures and are pessimistic about reversing the decline in the “original broadcast” metric because “normal” behavior on Facebook has changed as Facebook has gotten bigger. In other words, Facebook isn’t perceived as a safe place to post personal things as much as it used to be, these people say, and there’s no reason to think it can roll back the clock.

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Another factor in the decline is that some sharing activity has shifted to messaging, and to competitors like Snapchat, which has trained people to quickly shoot and share numerous video “snaps” per day.