With facebook crossing more than a billion users, Is it possible for a new startup to compete and win against facebook?
Facebook started as vertical (Harward online school directory) and ended up with a horizontal approach that connects friends. Google did the same thing when Yahoo was horizontal trying to show everything on the site. Google just focused on Search engine and now they are a completely different company. Even Amazon started with only selling books, now Amazon is a Tech company along with its huge cloud infrastructure. All the big companies started vertically, they caught a point where people demanded and other companies ignored.
So rather than competing a horizontal giant social network, try to see where this site can't fill a gap but you can. Google+ (Google Plus) competed with horizontal approach against Facebook and they lost. It doesn't matter how big or small you are, it's just about finding a small backdoor where other companies ignore.
Airbnb recently showed the old emails that many investors rejected them to compete with hotels in early days. Those investors didn't get that Airbnb was actually a vertical competitor and they were afraid to go horizontal. The investors have a right point not to compete a horizontal giant sector but they usually don't get that the product was a vertical thing. Airbnb didn't try to compete with hotels by replacing nicer hotels or hostels. They did something completely different. They found the incentives of people willing to share their apartments, homes for a reasonable price.
So the question "Can facebook be replaced with another social network" is kind of misleading question because you don't need to replace it but to drill down and find a hole on it.
Is it possible? Sure. Kids/Young adults are fickle and don't like to be on the same social network as their parents. However, it's improbable as long as Facebook is able to continue buying relevancy (Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, etc.). Even if they can't buy relevancy, they are very capable/willing to copy it (i.e. SnapChat).
The killer of Facebook will unlikely be called a "Social Network". It's likely that no one knows what it will be called.
It is called product life cycle and even facebook one day will become obsolete. The better the competition the sooner this will happen. You have to consider though, in case you want to compete it directly, at which stage it is, at the time you will face it and now it is rather a difficult time.
Ok! I have read and analyzed all the answers, let us take it bit by bit, by answering these Q? (Be very practical)
1. What makes you access face book everyday or alternate day or day in a week & so on?
2. Why do you you share your photos, location, plans, new acquisitions, 3rd party jargon that you found interesting - relevance to share a particular topic or anything?
3. Do you feel a sense of satisfaction or do you get excited on increased likes on posts?
4. Do you remember any of the products/ services that are prompted or displayed on the site?
5. Have you used any product or service displayed on the site?
6. What is the time duration of your presence on facebook, each time you login?
7. Have you ever felt low after your sojourn on facebook?
8. Last but not the least, have you had that feeling that you want to do more to get identified among your group or wider, always aiming to do something that gets viral on facebook?
Change is the only thing permanent. Every decade we huge shift market and there will be someone, somewhere already in the process creating a next unicorn.
The short answer is-iis--isis--yes absolutely! In fact it's the imperfections in the network effect that can eventually weaken it badly, not kill it just weaken it to just larger than MySpace is today. Here is an article I wrote on it The Social Network Effect—Can Facebook Be Toppled From Within?
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-network-effectcan-facebook-toppled-from-within-rey-tamayo and here is a video of my patent pending invention on it https://youtu.be/4zP1uEB7uxY
Yes, I am working on such a site this summer... I cant say for sure it will REPLACE Facebook but it will take a huge chunk of active FB users as well as people who are getting sick of the "social media" crap because my site is not a popularity contest but a haven for people who are useful to each other. Stay tuned!
YES! Probably very soon, I have a perfect blend of ingredients that can wipe out facebook into oblivion, with all due respect to the founders, their biggest weakness is monetization which is still a distant reality, I have done a lot of study on individual behavior when it comes to facebook the reason is very basic - A user visits the site for 2 reasons 1 is "Curiosity" & the other is "Identity" which work in tandem, for example when a user post's something on face book it is to get noticed - the user returns to the site out of curiosity to find out the number of likes his post has received if the number of likes are more than he expected this gives him a pseudo sense of identity, which the user keeps repeating - I think it is something to do with sense of satisfaction, here curiosity plays a dual role the user also compares likes with posts' from other users thereby creating a sense of competition!
The problem with facebook is that it does not give you a window for a broader spectrum of users instead you are confined to own group b'coz there is no common division of user base, the feeling is like a new fish in pond.
The master key to un-tap the true potential is to monetize the likes with the reward going to the identity seeker!
With Facebook acquiring over a billion active users since its launch date in 2004, it is not impossible, but very difficult to surpass this website unless you have something super different and demanded. I mean super demanded and unique from what it already is, especially since Facebook holds so many different options and services such as Messenger, its ownership of Instagram, Facebook Live, and now stories such as Snapchat. As all these new products come out in the recent years, Facebook adapts the idea under its own copyright and company to the point that it is a universal tool in many services. Overcoming Facebook's account total is like opening a fast-food service restaurant aiming to overcome McDonald's. Again, not saying it is impossible, but very unlikely. But besides that point, I'm not saying it wont make you great money if you end up starting a social networking website of some sort because consumers love these type of ideas. Best of luck to you if you have something in the works. If you do, I would love to hear about it via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook is getting way too censored and to partisan, so I think there's a lot of interest for something with more free speech.