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The Facebook New Product Experimentation (NPE) team has released an app called Forecast that essentially crowdsources answers to questions posed both by members and invited experts. Facebook Forecast is the latest in a string of new apps from Facebook’s NPE team, all of which seem focused on tapping into rising usage and getting ahead of the competition.
What Is Facebook Forecast?
On the Facebook blog announcing the new app, Facebook explained, “Forecast is a place to ask questions and use in-app points to make predictions about the future. All questions are submitted by the community and then moderated for clarity, using Forecast’s moderation guidelines and Facebook’s Community Standards.”
Initially, according to Facebook, making predictions and engaging in conversations on the Forecast app will only be for invited community members, beginning with “people in the health, research and academic communities to make predictions about the COVID-19 pandemic.” However, viewing and sharing the predictions and conversations will be available for anyone on the Forecast website.
Forecast users, or Forecasters, will have the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind their predictions and initiate deeper conversations around the issues raised by the questions. Forecasters can also follow their prediction track records on a leaderboard and visit the profiles of other users. There is also a point system on Facebook Forecast that is tied to asking questions and engaging in conversations, although the point system doesn’t seem fully formed at this point.
Currently, Forecast is invite-only beta. For those interested in signing up, there is a waitlist that can be joined by requesting access to the Forecast Beta Testers Facebook group and downloading the app.
Why Is Facebook Launching Forecast?
At a time when there is an abundance of opinions across social media platforms, and a tendency to mix opinion and fact, Facebook is hoping crowdsourced answers will lead to healthier conversations on the internet and more clarity around complex issues.
Forecast is very new and not unlike other Q&A style apps that haven’t been successful. Social Media Today notes that Forecast, and other apps from the NPE team, could have a different purpose: “These apps from the NPE team are more about throwing ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks, as opposed to building 'successful' apps within themselves. That [the testing of new apps] can then lead to expanded functionality, new tools in existing Facebook apps, additional user insights, etc.”
How Does The Launch Of Facebook Forecast Benefit Digital Marketers?
Facebook continuing to expand their universe is relevant to digital marketers, especially as the somewhat beleaguered social media app continues to navigate through the advertiser boycott. As long as Facebook continues to engage a broad section of America, most advertisers will include Facebook as part of their digital marketing strategies. At this time, there is no specific information about advertising opportunities within Forecast.
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