For the past decade, Facebook's mission has been clear:
"To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."
In everything that Mark Zuckerberg has done over, that mission has been extraordinarily clear. From user interface changes to Facebook, to expansion into other tech territories such as marketplaces, mobile messaging, and most recently user Stories, the core of Facebook's vision has remained unchanged.
That explains how they've been able to scale, grow, and remain relevant for so long--with no signs of slowing down.
Facebook's mission is changing.
But in a recent interview with CNNMoney, it appears Zuckerberg's tune has changed. Not much, but enough to warrant talking about it. In the interview, he said that the mission has evolved to:
"Giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."
What is he referring to, exactly?
Zuckerberg believes that one of the platforms most prominent features, Facebook Groups, are in essence the core of what Facebook embodies and the role it plays in the everyday lives of its users. For those that don't know, Facebook Groups were launched in 2010 and are now used by over 1 billion people.
When we pull back and question what this seemingly minor shift in wording means for the aim of Facebook, what we find is actually a deep root in our desire as humans to connect in hyper-personal ways.
At first, Facebook's mission seemed far more growth centric. It was all about sharing, connecting, and basically expanding.
Now, the company seems to have reached a summit (and subsequent realization) that the real next step isn't just adding more users to the mix, but helping its users connect and remain connected with the right people.
This is where the value of Facebook Groups come in.
Any event, gathering, celebration, class or cohort sees the value in having a Facebook Group. It is a seamless way of keeping the right people in touch, usually hyper-focused around a certain topic or issue. The way Zuckerberg and Facebook may be thinking about user acquisition then has far less to do with simply adding more users, but rather giving communities the tools they need to build meaningful connections (under the assumption that they too will invite others to join the group, and subsequently Facebook as a platform).
What this means for the future of the company.
Will Facebook continue investing in new technologies with aims to expand into parallel markets?
But it's clear from Zuckerberg that decisions will be weighed against the impact on Facebook's community--which arguably is the most valuable thing they have. With over 1.9 billion monthly users, the company raked in $8 billion in revenue last quarter, the vast majority of which comes from their impeccable ad platform.
Facebook's value is dependent upon maintaining the quality of their platform and the hyper-targeted usage of each user's behavior. By shifting their focus even closer toward communities, they clearly see and very much understand their value--both to users and companies purchasing ads targeting those users.
The closer the connections, the more targeted their ad platform can become.
This is only the beginning.