Why Facebook wants to cut text and go 'all video'

Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn predicts that in five years, your newsfeed will most likely be filled with videos, not written status updates. 

Jeff Chiu/AP/File
A man walks past a mural in an office on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif.

Five years from now, your Facebook newsfeed will "probably" be "all video," according to Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn. 

Speaking at a conference Tuesday, Ms. Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook's operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, explained the social network's logic behind pushing video as the primary source of content. 

"The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video," Mendelsohn said. "It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information."

Studies have shown that native videos – videos posted to Facebook directly by users or pages – also receive more likes, comments, and shares than other content. Newswhip found that while user engagement with links posted to Facebook by media publishers declined significantly over the past year, engagement with native videos rose exponentially.

For example, in July 2015, 2.1 percent of the posts on CNN's Facebook page were native videos, and the page had a total of 97,330 engagements. By April 2016, 22.6 percent of CNN's posts were native videos, attracting more than 2.4 million engagements for the page per month. 

"Native" is the key word when it comes to these numbers. Data published last year revealed that natively uploaded Facebook videos, now the most popular form of video-sharing on Facebook, received more than 80 percent of all video interactions, with YouTube coming in second at around 10 percent.

"We're seeing a year-on-year decline of text," Mendelsohn said. "If I was having a bet I'd say: video, video, video...."

Facebook's most recent video feature, live video, allows users to interact with real-time video broadcasts in a new way. The site promoted the feature on Tuesday by using it as the platform for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's first live Q&A session with users, who supplied questions via comment section. 

The concept of live video does pose some challenges for Facebook and other social media companies rolling out similar features. On Monday night, an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist killed a police commander and his romantic partner in Magnanville, France, and then broadcast live from the scene, admitting to the murder and threatening the Euro 2016 soccer championship. The attacker's Facebook page and original video have since been removed. 

As Facebook works to address potential issues with live video, it continues to develop new features. Facebook users should expect virtual reality and 360 video to become "commonplace" in the coming years, Mendelsohn said. 

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.