A pivotal year for Facebook, which even changed its name

Facebook had the wind in its sails at the start of 2021 and seemed little threatened by TikTok, this social network from China. Finally, the second half of the year will have been quite awful for the Californian company, which even saw fit to change its name, while TikTok continues to conquer the next generation of Internet users.

Noémie (we use a fictitious name to protect her anonymity due to her age) sums up the quagmire Facebook is stuck in in one sentence. The 16-year-old, who lives in the Montreal area on the North Shore, closed her Instagram account after realizing that she was spending her days, and sometimes even a good part of her nights, scrolling through photos and videos “that weren’t true” and that it ended up leading her “to [se] compare in many ways ”.

“On Instagram, images too often revolve around body image,” she adds. Whether it’s TV personalities, influencers or people around her, “there’s always a camera angle, a shot, a play of light, or something that makes it all wrong.”

The young Internet user is not the only one to have abandoned Instagram in 2021. The leaders of the Facebook group were already aware of the harmful effect that Instagram had on its youngest users. The former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen will have drawn the attention of governments to all that is wrong with Facebook, including the worrying emergence of groups advocating violence and hate speech.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his executives have responded well, but rather timidly, experts say. The company ended the year by trying a diversion: the company will no longer be called Facebook, but Meta, and will further explore virtual and augmented reality as an avenue for future growth.

TikTok billionaire

A lighter highlight of 2021: the return of ABBA. The Swedish disco group has risen from the ashes of 40 years thanks in part to the help of the new flavor of the moment in the digital world: the TikTok platform, born from a merger in late 2018 with the application musical Musical.ly.

ABBA has proven to be one of the most popular topics in the TikTok universe in 2021, which seems fitting given its dancing origins. The short video sharing network passed the one billion user mark in September. It’s no surprise to see even an old musical group see their popularity rebound.

In fact, that’s perhaps what sets TikTok apart the most from Facebook and Instagram right now: the Chinese-born social network is perceived to be “more fun.” But the heavy commercial machine which seems to have swallowed up its more popular rivals is starting to take an interest in it.

From this point of view, 2021 could be an important pivotal year in the world of social networks. A year when the giant Facebook bent its knee, while a rival is trying to steal its place in the hearts of Internet users.

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