According to a recent report from Quartz, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media titan Facebook is planning to roll out even more intrusive advertising. Integrating itself into the extremely popular Messenger app for instant messaging, Facebook plans to provide autoplaying advertisements that will fill your chat history as you scroll through it for the freshest memes and hottest emojis.
The ads, which will insert themselves between your pictures and comments automatically as you proceed through a conversation, are set to roll out beginning June 25. Initially restricted to a small test sample who will be receiving the annoying line breaks, Facebook eventually plans to distribute the ads to the entire social media population. A spokesperson for the company did say that they recognize that this may be an intrusive idea, maintaining the users are already aware of the inserted advertisements in the timeline or news feed and that they plan to “thoughtfully” introduce advertising into Messenger in a way that seems less jarring. The big blue brand released a statement on the matter to the general public.
“We will be rolling out video ads gradually and thoughtfully… People that use Messenger each month are our top priority and they will remain in control of their experience.”
It is a bit difficult for Facebook’s marketing team to promise that users will remain in control of their experience when their experience is cluttered by advertisements not just in the feed and on the sidebar but also in the form of autoplaying videos in private conversations. Despite these assurances, it remains to be seen whether or not Facebook will face any serious mass exodus in protest of these new implementations.
Like the adage of the frog in a pot of ever-increasing water, staying until it reaches a boil, Facebook appears to be counting on slight yet progressively monetized iterations of advertising tools to keep users on the hook.
It remains unclear whether or not this latest push against social media consumers will result in fewer engagements, with Facebook already reporting that in North America, total numbers of users actually dropped for the first time last year, according to AdAge, while ad revenues ticked upwards. Facebook closed out the fiscal year in 2017 with $40 billion in revenue from their embedded ads, which is an enormous 47 percent increase over previous performance.
So while Facebook community members may be leaving in droves due to toxic political battles, clickbait by the barrel, and increasingly intrusive and impeding advertisements being placed nearly everywhere within the platform, the company itself does not show signs of financial fallout from it. Competing sites such as Minds have yet to reach any critical mass. It appears as if the Facebook monopoly has no credible threats at this time in history and can essentially push changes like this without serious repercussions from the install base.