Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: S3studio/Getty Images

For nearly a decade, social media networks have dominated the tech economy, but as the experience becomes more saturated and invasive, users are turning to private networks, like encrypted messaging.

Why it matters: The transition is rocking the businesses of some of the biggest and fastest-growing tech companies of all time.

Facebook's stock went into free-fall late Wednesday after the company conceded that security initiatives would continue to impact its revenue, and that user attention is increasingly moving towards messaging.

The company said that changes to its flagship app, Facebook, are continuing to hurt engagement, with user growth slipping by 1 million users in Europe and plateauing in North America.

  • Facebook unveiled a new "family" metric to investors, which counts how many people (not accounts) use at least one of Facebook's "family of apps" — including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Some analysts and reporters speculated that the broad use metric is meant to divert attention from the Facebook app's waning user growth.

The bigger trend: More people globally use messaging apps than social media apps, and the trend seems to be accelerating.

Expand chart
Data: Media reports; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios (Snapchat notes Daily Active users. It does not report monthly active user metrics.)

Social media companies have been revising their business models to accommodate the transition.

  • Last year, Snapchat changed its design to separate social engagement (messaging) from media (content). The redesign caused its stock to plummet, and the company has struggled to grow significantly since.
  • Twitter expanded its private messaging feature to include chatbots for businesses and in 2015 raised the character limits for one-to-one messaging.

User fatigue from social media is not surprising, given the global privacy reckoning over the past year and the boom of autoplay video and programmatic advertising.

  • Critics have been speaking out against using endorsements such as "likes" to surface content on social media platforms.
  • Open platforms that give prominence to content based on popularity rankings, as opposed to personal or professional recommendations, are now facing criticism that these rankings can be easily manipulated, sometimes by only a few bad actors, inflating the authority of some content.
  • Trust in social media networks has plummeted over the past year, according to Edelman's latest Trust Barometer, while trust in technology continues to rise.

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.