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What a month Facebook is having, in a bad way, as a range of news organisations get stuck in to a treasure trove of leaked documents showing its inner workings.

One of them, from March this year, suggested that US teenagers were spending 16% less time on Facebook compared to a year before, with data suggesting teens were in no rush to join the social network when they reached its minimum age of 13.

That’s useful context for a promise made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook’s earnings call yesterday. After describing TikTok as “one of the most effective competitors that we have ever faced”, Zuckerberg said that Facebook is “retooling our team to make serving the young adults their north star rather than optimising for the larger number of older people”. He added: “This shift will take years, not months to fully execute.”

Reels, the short-video feature that began on Instagram and has since been incorporated into Facebook itself, will be key to this. “We expect this to continue growing, and I’m optimistic that Reels will be as important for our products as Stories is,” said Zuckerberg. “We also expect to make significant changes to Instagram and Facebook in the next year to further lean into video and make real and more central part of the experience.”

As for the financial results, Facebook’s revenues grew by 35% year-on-year to just over $29bn in the third quarter of 2021, helping it to post a net profit of $9.19bn.

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