Social media guru and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, chaired his first ever public Q&A this past Thursday, throwing open his doors to questions from every corner of the internet. This isn’t exactly new ground for the company; they’ve held internal Q&A sessions allowing employees to pick Zuckerberg’s brain and question the direction of the company and where it’s heading for the previous seven to eight years. But it is the first time they’ve invited the public to pitch their own questions.
They didn’t pull any punches:
The first ever ‘public town hall meeting’ got underway last Thursday, and despite fielding a few fluffy questions – do we really need to know how many shirts Mark has? – the CEO addressed some nagging issues. Namely, the infamous Messenger app and the much publicised decline of organic reach.
Within minutes of hitting the stage, Zuckerberg was boldly asked “Mark, why did you force us to install Facebook messenger?” He conceded that it was something they didn’t take lightly, requiring a big leap of faith on the part of Facebook’s users, but insisted there was a good reason for the move.
Here’s what he had to say:
“On mobile, each app really can focus on doing one thing well,” Zuckerberg countered. He went on to explain that since people do the bulk of their browsing on handheld devices, relying on dedicated apps such as iMessage and Whatsapp, it became pressingly obvious that Facebook was falling behind the curve and needed to give users a dedicated app of its own devising. He went on to insist user’s inconvenience at having to download the app is outweighed by the advantages it brings to the speed and ease of communication, allowing them to catch up with their news feed and keep in touch with friends without the need to juggle several different apps.
Another growing area of dissatisfaction Zuckerberg addressed was the decline of organic reach; a trend that has been blighting Facebook fan and business pages who rely on Facebook for online marketing. He expressed empathy, acknowledging that businesses are struggling, but reiterated that most people use Facebook as a way to catch up with friends, not interact with businesses. His message to businesses was simply to “focus on sharing great content.”