In a blog post this past week, Facebook laid out a case that it isn’t dead. And it confirmed what you’ve probably already figured out: The social network has moved on from its original focus of catching up with people you know. Tom Allison, whose title is “head of Facebook,” asserts in the post that the
unit is “off to a great start this year,” pointing to the fact that it reached two billion daily active users for the first time in December. “Facebook isn’t dead nor dying, but in fact is alive and thriving,” he writes.
But, as he points out, how people are using the site is changing dramatically—largely because of adjustments Facebook has made in the site’s news feed and in Reels, the short-video feature that competes with TikTok. “People are using Facebook for more than connecting with friends and family, but also to discover and engage around what is most important to them,” he writes. While the wording implies that users are making this choice, the fact is that Facebook is looking more like TikTok—a platform to view third-party content—and less like a traditional social network.
“There are billions of people on Earth doing interesting things at any given time, and we’re working on opening up that world for more people by showing you content you’re likely interested in,” he writes. The post underlines Meta’s plan to provide tools to make it easy for everyone to become a content generator, whether in text, photo, or video, which can be spread around its network via artificial intelligence.
That, in theory, should lead to higher levels of engagement and more advertising dollars. You do have to wonder, however, whether some people might rather just see pictures of their neighbors’ puppies.
reports first-quarter fiscal-2023 results.
hold investor meetings.
The National Federation of Independent Business releases its Small Business Optimism Index for February. The consensus estimate is for a 91 reading, which would be the 14th consecutive one below the 49-year average of 98. In January, 45% of small-business owners said that job openings were hard to fill, a historically elevated number.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the consumer price index for February. Economists forecast that the CPI will show an increase of 6%, year over year, compared with 6.4% in January. The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is expected to rise 5.5%, one-tenth of a percentage point less than in the previous report. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has stressed in recent months that services inflation, excluding the cost of shelter, is what he’d most like to see decelerate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the producer price index for February. Economists forecast that the PPI will show an increase of 5.4%, year over year, while the core PPI is expected to be up 5.3%. This compares with gains of 6% and 5.4%, respectively, in January.
announces first-quarter fiscal-2023 earnings.
The Census Bureau reports retail sales data for February. Consumer spending likely rose 0.2%, month over month, while retail sales, excluding autos, are expected to show an increase of 0.4%. This compares with gains of 3% and 2.3%, respectively, in January. The 3% jump was the largest since March 2021, reflecting the resilience of U.S. consumers. That economic release, along with continued strength in the labor market and other hotter-than-expected-inflation data, have caused Wall Street to reprice the terminal, or peak, federal-funds rate to about 5.6%, from 5% in late January.
The National Association of Home Builders releases its Housing Market Index for March. The consensus call is for a 40 reading, two points lower than in February. While home builders still have a gloomy outlook for the housing market, it has brightened somewhat compared with December, which had the lowest reading for the index in a decade, excluding one data point at the onset of the pandemic.
hold conference calls to discuss quarterly results.
The Census Bureau reports residential construction statistics for February. Expectations are for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.32 million starts, slightly more than in January.
The University of Michigan releases its Consumer Sentiment Index for March. The forecast calls for a 67.4 reading, about even with February. While low historically, it would be the highest reading in more than a year.
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