FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Elliot Schrage, VP of Communications and Public Policy, Facebook.
FACEBOOK CHANGES NEWS FEED TO FOCUS ON MORE MEANINGFUL SOCIAL INTERACTIONS
Overhaul of the News Feed Algorithm will favor content created by family and friends and deprioritize business and media, says Zuckerberg.
MENLO PARK, CA., January 11, 2018, Facebook Inc. is making significant changes on how content is presented on the platform in an attempt to address the backlash from users about the quality of the shared content and how it affects the society.
According to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the News Feed Algorithm’s overhaul will give more priority to friends and posts that spark conversations between them at the expense of news outlets, public content, and ads that appear on the social network.
“The sweeping changes are designed to encourage users to engage in more meaningful social interactions. The premise is that one is more likely to leave comments and discuss posts shared by family members or friends than those shared by businesses or media,” Zuckerberg explained in a Facebook post.
Zuckerberg further explained that the company has considered the feedback from the users regarding public content from media, brands, and businesses crowding out their personal moments that engender more connection which remains the ‘core’ Facebook experience.
The Facebook’s News Feed overhaul is the most significant in years and users will start viewing fewer news articles and viral videos shared by media companies or brands. Instead, Facebook will prioritize content from friends, for example, a status or photo that many have liked or left a comment.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook has analyzed the types of posts that have harmed or stressed users. The social network is keen on minimizing ‘passive content’ which includes the articles and videos that ask the user for more than just sitting back and reading or watching- so that the time spent on the site by the user is meaningful.
It is important for the company to refocus the system and ensure that it not only provides fun, but also good content. Facebook acknowledges that the amount of publishers’ distribution will plummet because most of their content is just consumed passively and does not trigger conversations.
The modifications appeared to be designed to silence some Facebook critics who have taken the company to task regarding exploiting human psychology for profit, allowing foreign intrusion in national elections, facilitating the spread of misinformation, and cloistering users in filter bubbles.
Initially, Zuckerberg notoriously termed those concerns ‘pretty crazy’ and dismissed the impression that fake news and propaganda influenced the late 2016’s presidential elections in the United States. However, in 2017, the company admitted to the purchase of $100,000 worth of ads by a Russian influence operation to promote politically divisive content.
The changes on the Facebook News Feed will certainly create far-reaching repercussions especially to small businesses, nonprofits, publishers and many other group that depend on the social network to reach to the public.
There is also a possibility that the modifications may work against the company’s direct commercial interests. Facebook has successfully gotten people to spend significant amounts of time on the platform but with the changing dynamics regarding less viral content appearing more often, users would easily spend their time somewhere else.
About FACEBOOK, INC.
Facebook, Inc., based in Menlo Park, California, is an American online social networking service and social media company. Facebook, Inc. provides several products including Facebook mobile application and website to allow people to communicate, discover, share, and connect with one another around the world.
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