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  • Meerelle Cruz

Messenger Releases A New Group Effect for New Year’s Eve, in Collaboration with Cosmopolitan

In collaboration with Cosmopolitan, Messenger has launched a new AR feature for New Year's Eve that will allow users to ring in 2022 with animated chicken nuggets in a champagne glass. Nugget Cheers, a brand new interactive AR video-calling Group Effect created exclusively for New Year's Eve, is now available on Messenger, thanks to a collaboration with Cosmopolitan. On a Messenger or Instagram video chat, you'll be able to salute and share the (weirdly) perfect match of champagne and chicken nuggets.

The functionality makes use of Meta's recently launched group AR option for video calls, which allows numerous individuals in a group chat to interact with the same effect at the same time. To celebrate New Year's Eve, they'll be able to nod their heads in unison to trigger chicken nuggets in a glass.

Cool. Right?

Meta's main problem over the last five years or so has been its inability to keep up with changing online culture trends, something that other applications like Snapchat and TikTok have excelled at. Meta has progressively undermined any cultural nous within each of its apps, first through Facebook, then through Instagram, by focusing on huge growth, frequently above everything else. While this method has succeeded in attracting the largest number of users to its apps, it has also lost any exclusivity or cool factor that its platforms and services once possessed.

Essentially, the company was built with a growth-focused structure rather than a culture-focused structure, and as a result, you now have executives and leaders who are very good at building systems and formulating engagement algorithms but have no idea what's cool and trending, or what will generate the most buzz to help boost engagement among various groups. As a result, it's continually playing copycat, copying essential features from other, hotter apps, and as a result, it's lost all credibility as a cultural force among younger audiences.

Meta has more staff, money, and capacity than any other platform to develop new, cutting-edge tools and options that could help it boost engagement across the board, but no one would say Facebook or Instagram are cool these days, as they've been overtaken by smaller, less-resourced, but more in-touch players who know how to connect and maintain connections with their respective communities.

When was the last time Instagram introduced a "must-see" AR feature that wasn't already available on Snap or TikTok? What was the last Facebook feature that piqued your attention or rekindled your enthusiasm for the app? This is why, in light of Zuckerberg's new remit, I have severe doubts about Meta's ability to reconnect with the youth.

Zuckerberg remarked in October, as part of Meta's Q3 results statement, that they're retooling their teams to focus on servicing young adults rather than the higher number of elderly people. This, like everything else, will include trade-offs in their products, and it will almost certainly imply that the rest of their society grows more slowly than it would otherwise. However, it should also mean that their services for young adults will improve.

Is Meta, on the other hand, capable of accomplishing this?

Nothing from any of the company's executives suggests that they have any real expertise or understanding of modern web trends (Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri's attempts to link into Insta trends are particularly cringe-worthy), and new pushes like this, which link champagne and chicken nuggets, seem forced and disingenuous - and even then, they don't seem engaging or even interesting at all.

We’re not sure what additional tricks Meta has up its sleeve for regaining its cool factor, but nothing they've done so far has demonstrated that it can tune into, let alone lead, web trends, which it will need to do if it wants to win over younger viewers. However, you should be aware. Isn't it fun to eat chicken nuggets? That's cool, right? Classy and not-so-classy together.

There are also replies on Twitter, such as this one from the Meta handle, which is constantly attempting to latch onto new phenomena via web lingo:

Maybe Meta has something in the works that will help it reclaim its youth differently, something metaverse-aligned, a next-level push that will help it reclaim its cool.

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