Zuckerberg Answers Big Questions About Facebook, Forced Downloads Of Messenger, And Page Reach

Today at his first public Q&A, Mark Zuckerberg boldly responded to some of the top gripes and questions about his company. Here’s a look at the top questions and a summary of the Facebook CEO’s answers.

Why were people forced to download the separate Messenger app to chat?

People were forced to download Messenger because Zuckerberg thinks it’s a “better experience” and to get you faster responses from friends. Before, messaging was buried in the main app behind several taps, which made it harder to use. People send 10 billion messages a day, so Facebook thought it deserved its own full-fledged experience. Messenger delivered this better experience, but only if all your friends use it, too, and respond to your messages quicker, so it forced people to download. In the end, though, Zuck admitted “Maybe we didn’t handle that as smoothly as we could, in terms of the transition.”

Why is organic Page reach decreasing?

The percentage of their fans that Pages reach with each of their News Feed posts is decreasing because of two facts. One, people are sharing more content per day, adding more friends who share more content, and subscribing to more Pages that…share more content. There’s on average around 1,500 posts eligible to be shown in each person’s News Feed each day. Two, people only spend a limited time looking at News Feed per day. Facebook only shows around 100 posts per day. Zuckerberg says “No person will look at everything.”

With more content to be shown but roughly the same amount of time spent consuming it, there’s more competition for each slot. That means each source of the content naturally reaches a smaller percentage of the people it could be shown to. Zuckerberg empathized with businesses trying to reach their customers, but explained that people would probably rather see a post about their friend’s baby being born and it being healthy than some post from a Page. He says when there’s a conflict between the interest of Facebook’s News Feed-reading end users and business, “we optimize for the readers.” His advice to Pages is to “focus on sharing great content,” which Facebook will recognize more people will want to see and it will show it to them.

Read our deep-dive into why organic Page reach is decreasing and how the News Feed algorithm works for more info.

What can be done to get more women in tech?

Zuckerberg says that support for women entering science, technology, engineering and math needs to start earlier in the funnel so girls don’t self select out. He also noted that there’s a cyclical problem where there’s not a lot of women in tech because there aren’t a lot of women in tech. Essentially, there’s a lack of role models. He said to break this cycle, there needs to be an overwhelming effort. Zuckerberg noted this is everyone’s responsibility.

Why does Mark Zuckerberg wear the same shirt every day? Are there more than one of the same shirt? 

Zuck says with a laugh that yes, he has multiple copies of the same shirt. He explained the reason he wears the same gray t-shirt everyday, “speaks to how we think about our duty to the community here.” He said his goal is to clear his life so he can make as few decisions as possible so he can focus on making Facebook the best experience possible. “I don’t feel like I’m doing my job if I spend any of my time on anything silly or frivolous in my life.”