TikTok exec: We’re not a social network like Facebook, we’re an entertainment platform

ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok app. is displayed in the App Store on a smartphone in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia.

Andre Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

TikTok is fully aware that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is retooling the Facebook and Instagram apps are more like its own popular short video service. But TikTok has no interest in imitating Facebook.

“Facebook is a social platform,” Blake Chandlee, president of global business solutions for TikTok, told CNBC on Thursday. “They built all of their algorithms based on the social graph. It’s their core skill. Ours isn’t.”

Chandlee, who spent 12 years at Facebook before joining TikTok in 2019, said his former employer would likely run into trouble if he tried to copy TikTok, and end up providing an inferior experience for users and brands.

Facebook launched Instagram Reels in 2020 as its first real foray into the short video market. Last year he brought the service to its main Facebook application.

“We’re an entertainment platform,” Chandlee said. “The difference is significant. It’s a huge difference.”

Facebook Application Manager Tom Alison told The Verge this week, he sees TikTok stealing more and more shares of the world’s largest social network. Facebook plans to change its main feed to be more like TikTok by recommending more content whether or not shared by friends.

“I think what we probably haven’t fully embraced or seen is how social this format could be,” Alison told The Verge.

Facebook’s recent performance confirms this. Meta’s stock price is down 52% this year, underperforming the Nasdaq, which has fallen 32%. In April, the company said second-quarter revenue could fall from a year earlier for the first time ever.

Earlier in the year, Zuckerberg acknowledged the increased competitiveness pressure from TikTok and said, “That’s why our focus on Reels is so important long term.”

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is a private company.

Chandlee said history is not on Zuckerberg’s side and compares his current problem to the challenge that Google face when he was trying to take on Facebook at its own game.

“Do you remember when Google was creating Google+,” Chandlee said. At Facebook, “we had war rooms back then. It was a big deal. Everyone was worried about it,” he said.

But no matter how much money Google poured into its social networking efforts, it couldn’t compete with Facebook, which had become the default place for people to connect with friends and share photos and updates. day.

“It became clear that Google’s value was search and that Facebook was really good at social media,” Chandlee said.

“I see the same thing now,” he added. “We’re really good at what we do. We bring out those cultural tendencies and that unique experience that people have on TikTok. They just won’t have that on Facebook unless Facebook completely moves away from its values. socials, what I just don’t think will be okay.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chandlee added that he has deep respect for Zuckerberg and sees both Facebook and Google as strong competition. However, he noted that TikTok has an array of competitors around the world, including e-commerce and live-streaming companies.

Chandlee said he hasn’t seen a slowdown in ad spend on TikTok, despite what’s been reported by companies such as Instantaneouswho tell investors that advertising revenues are suffering from inflation and the threat of recession. Snap stock has lost nearly three-quarters of its value this year.

“I’ve heard there’s going to be a downturn in the ad market, 2% to 6%, but we haven’t seen it,” Chandlee said. “We don’t see the headwinds that some others see.”

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