WeChat will never push out a certain type of content
Allen Zhang has adamantly stated several times during the Annual Conference that they will not be changing their newsfeed. Mr Zhang says that WeChat will continue remaining a decentralised system where the user has total control over the content that they want to see.
He makes it clear that WeChat will never decide to push out a certain type of content for different customers.
What would WeChat look like if it adopted Facebook’s style?
Facebook’s news feed algorithm revolves around gathering information around what users seem to want, and then uses that data to push similar and seemingly relevant content to its users. While in itself this is not a bad thing, it can lead to some undesired consequences. This includes the unprompted removal of a brand or user’s content from their follower’s page.
- After the release of Facebook’s news feed update to increase ‘meaningful interactions’ in January this year, journalists from Guatemala reported their readership halving overnight. The update had caused them to vanish from most of their follower’s feeds.
- Another identical incident occurred in December 2013, where Facebook changed its news feed algorithm to promote “high-quality articles”. Immediately, popular news sites like Elite Daily and Distractify saw steep declines in traffic. The social news site Upworthy saw its traffic figures completely halve by January.
The Impact This Announcement Will Have
For brands, it is important since there are countless organisations that rely most on WeChat to generate traffic, and the possibility of losing out on even a quarter, let alone half, of their audience without any prompt can be devastating. Thus, WeChat providing users with choice, is in truth not only important for the user, but also for brands that rely on WeChat to have a voice.
Furthermore, WeChat is a relatively new platform, or at least compared to the likes of Facebook. And so following Facebook’s footsteps is not a bad idea since despite the flaws and negative press year after year, Facebook is still the most widely used social media platform. WeChat declaring it’s own independence goes a long way in showing that WeChat hasn’t just been out of the shadow of other mainstream social media giants — it’s already positioned itself among them.