That picture above? That’s how Facebook’s mobile app was supposed to look.
In April Facebook said it would replace the Messenger tab on its mobile app’s home screen with one for Live that would open up a section for people to browse broadcasts to watch. But today Facebook said it will replace the Messenger tab on its mobile app’s home screen with one for Marketplace that would open up a section for people to browse products for sale.
What happened between April and now that Facebook decided to give such prime placement to a Craiglist-style online swap meet instead of a product that, in February 2016, had been made a “top priority” for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg?
Honestly, no idea. Maybe Facebook thinks its news feed algorithm can do a good enough job bringing people’s attention to Live broadcasts. Maybe not as many people are tuning into Live broadcasts while they’re live and instead of watching the archived versions. Maybe the algorithm that was supposed to rank Live broadcasts in the new section still needs work, perhaps particularly when it comes to NSFW streams (a couple weeks ago I was browsing Facebook’s desktop-only Live map and came across a dude in Brazil streaming all of himself in the shower and doing stuff I’m not allowed to write about here).
It’s too early to call the coroner on a stillborn Live tab. Facebook has rolled out the Live tab to a small percentage of people around the world and still plans to add a version of it — that will likely differ from what Facebook had originally teased in April — to the bottom of the news feed in its mobile app, according to a Facebook spokesperson. But TBD on when that will happen.