Is Meta Pivoting Back To Social Media?

Recode published a piece that does not help reduce skepticism towards Meta’s ambitious AR/VR/metaverse endeavors. The year 2022 was tough on the company. Will Facebook/Meta be the next MySpace or Yahoo? Its founder and CEO is optimistic:

“Zuckerberg says he has a plan to reverse the slump. He’ll keep building the metaverse, but he’ll focus most of his time on improving Meta’s core social media business (Facebook and Instagram) and finding new ways to expand the company’s popular but less profitable messaging apps.” — Shirin Ghaffary

My reaction to the above quote was literally, “Wait…what??”

It sounds like Meta — the company that pivoted hard from Facebook to the metaverse — is now pivoting back to social media, since Zuckerberg’s “focus” and “most of his time” will be on improving the core business (i.e. Facebook).

Okay, so social media remains Meta’s core business, despite having renamed itself to Meta, and the metaverse remains a side hustle. That makes sense; social media is what makes Meta money, whereas the metaverse has thus far caused Meta to lose billions.

Still, the renewed focus on or return to prioritizing the social media part of Meta is surprising because the company’s late 2021 pivot — new name and new brand — to the metaverse was so prominent and promising.

What’s more, Meta isn’t only intending to ensure the fires of its social media apps keep burning brightly, it’s also planning to nurture growth in its messaging apps too. And all that’s on top of continuing to build the metaverse.

So, build the metaverse, expand its messaging platforms, and also — above all — improve its social media (which seems to mean beating TikTok at its own game). Meta, after laying off thousands in recent months, plans to do all three of these at the same time.

Yeah, I’m skeptical.

Do you think Meta can pull all this off? Should it focus on just one thing?