January 18, 2018 ~ 2 min read

Anti Growth Hacking

How many people have told you they decided to spend more time on Facebook? How many people do you know who have quit Facebook or put in place measures to decrease their Facebook usage?

Facebook announced a week ago today that it is changing its newsfeed algorithm to prioritize posts from family and friends in users' News Feeds over content from publishers and brands in order to ensure more "meaningful interactions". I think we're just beginning to see the pushback against social media addiction.

Chamath Palihaptiya, an early member of the growth team at Facebook has come out an said that he himself no longer uses Facebook, nor does he allow his kids to use it. This should give us pause. Some of the smartest minds of our generation have growth hacked this thing to make it as addictive as possible. Despite Facebook's announcement to change the algorithm, they are still optimizing for time spent on the platform.

Personally, I've removed both Instagram and Facebook from my phone and block a number of websites on my computer for the majority of each day.

Do you really want your users experimenting with quitting Facebook because they are concerned with the level of their own usage? I suspect this could have some extremely negative consequences in the long term for Facebook's user base and profits.

Despite Facebook's deep moat, I think there's a huge opportunity in the social media to create a platform that prioritizes user happiness over user engagement or time spent on the platform. Imagine if this new platform cut all users off after 30 minutes of daily usage.

As new technologies like AR and VR come to market, I think companies will start spending less time trying to get users addicted to their product, and more time on making sure users have a healthy relationship with their product and leave feeling happy, rather than distraught that they just spent another 5 hours inside their headset. Despite how useful a product might be to me, if I feel like I can't control my usage, I simply won't use it.

Let's start thinking about "anti-growth hacking". What "hacks" can we use to encourage healthy usage patterns? I believe this strategy will win big in the long-term.

Maxi Ferreira

Hi, I'm Taylor . I'm a software engineer/maker/amateur chef currently living in San Francisco. You can follow me on Twitter , see some of my work on GitHub , or read about my life on Substack .