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Facebook says it’s refocusing company on ‘serving young adults’

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Expect changes to Instagram to highlight Reels

The word facebook in white against a blue background. Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’s redirected teams within his company to “make serving young adults their north star.” The comment, made on a call with investors this afternoon, speaks to Facebooks’ concerns about declining usage among teens and young adults.

“So much of our services have gotten dialed to be the best for the most people who use them, rather than specifically for young adults,” Zuckerberg said.

He suggested the change will be more than just lip service. Facebook usage among older users will grow slower than it otherwise would have because of the changes, Zuckerberg said. Even with those tradeoffs, he said, “I think it’s the right approach.”

Zuckerberg expects the changes to take years. One of the more immediate shifts could be to Instagram, which he says will see “significant changes” to lean further into video and make Reels “a more central part of the experience.”

The shift toward video is very clearly a response to TikTok, which Zuckerberg called “one of the most effective competitors we’ve ever faced.”

While the details are largely talk for now, it’s clear that Facebook has been thinking and planning this before now. The Verge reported today on leaked Facebook documents showing the company’s alarm at seeing declining usage, with a precipitous drop predicted in the years ahead. The documents also show ideas Facebook considered to increase usage among younger users, including revamped groups, job finding tools, and “mood feeds.”