Facebook makes friends a priority in the News Feed


"Facebook is making the service more social and less media, and that's likely a positive for the vast majority of users", Weiser said. The company will also continue to prioritize content that users search for or return regularly to view, such as weekly video series.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, said in an interview with The Times on Thursday that he wanted the company to focus on "meaningful interaction".

Currently, News Feed has been created to share a mix of "public" content from brands along with posts by friends and family.

"But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable", he wrote. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience.

Facebook took a look at their mountain of data and made that decision for you, replacing publisher content with something that evokes ever-more extreme emotions rather than serious interest in what is actually happening around you. The work was spurred by criticism from politicians, academics, the media and others that Facebook had not adequately considered its responsibility for what it shows users on its network. Facebook announced sweeping changes to its News Feed on January 11, 2018, saying that it would prioritize what their friends and family share and comment on while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands.

Nearly half of USA adults get at least some of their news from Facebook, according to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center.

RBC Capital Markets said lower user engagement with the site may provide a "headwind to growth in the near-term", but the changes will be "helpful for the long-term health of the business". It's likely you'll still see news articles or even notifications about good deals prominently on your feed, as long as they're posted by your friends.

That will leave businesses that want publicity on Facebook no choice but to spend more on advertising, and as a result prices will climb, predicted Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, which advises corporate brands on social media. With the latest change, Facebook's algorithm will prioritise posts that spark back-and-forth discussion or inspire people to share and react. A long comment on a family member's photo, for instance, might be highlighted in the News Feed above a video with fewer comments or fewer interactions between people.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg AP File

This means that if you're counting on Facebook to deliver news from this news outlet, or virtually any other news outlet, then you're going to be seeing less of that. Zuckerberg already signaled this would happen late past year, when he said the company's planned investments in preventing abuse would hurt profitability.

"Facebook has a lot of work to do - whether it's protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent", he wrote.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants you to remember a time when you curated your list of favourite movies, showed off your new pair of shoes, shared some good news, and didn't see using Facebook as a pseudo-masochistic act of poor impulse control. "They don't think there are any real cracks in the Facebook story".

So arguably the company can afford to shift its focus a bit away from quarterly profit gains and metrics like "user engagement" that get advertisers salivating. Product managers are being asked to "facilitate the most meaningful interactions between people", rather than the previous mandate of helping people find the most meaningful content, he said.

Last week, Zuckerberg said his "personal challenge" for 2018 (something he's done every year since 2009), will be to fix Facebook.

Facebook said the changes will start rolling out within the next couple of months.

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.

"It's important to me that when Max and August grow up that they feel like what their father built was good for the world", Zuckerberg said.

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