It was 2020 and Mark Zuckerberg’s focus on his latest project began to intensify.
Online shopping was booming, and the CEO of Facebook, now called Meta Platforms, wanted to turn Facebook and Instagram into shopping destinations. Zuckerberg threw himself into the effort, holding daily meetings and taking a hands-on approach far beyond what was typical for a CEO of a huge public company. He provided the business team with capital and engineers so they could accelerate their progress – more money than the group had asked for, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. He even talked about eventually wanting to generate Amazon-like levels of commerce through Meta properties, this person said.
The shopping push made sense: Facebook and Instagram have billions of users, and Meta’s recommendation and ranking technology, which the company has spent years perfecting to tailor its feeds and ads to users’ tastes , could in theory be effective at showing people the products they were. likely to buy. And a significant portion of Meta’s huge advertising business was already promoting products that people were buying elsewhere on the internet. But employees feared that Zuckerberg’s expectations were extremely high, and some worried that his lieutenants would want to tell him.