Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced on Thursday major updates to his company's services, including users' news feed. "I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions", Zuck wrote in a post announcing the changes.
Facebook says it made the change in order to promote conversation and make time spent on the platform more meaningful. In this way Facebook hopes to improve the quality of time you spend browsing Facebook, specifically by showing you things that are most valuable/relevant to you and your particular life - not necessarily things that someone else or some company has paid for you to see.
It's easy to understand how we got here. They make this argument despite the fact that Facebook has editorial control over content posted on the platform and - with the changes now being implemented - the fact that Facebook is deciding what factors make news sources worthy of being placed in its News Feed.
"Pages making posts that people generally don't react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution".More news: Taylor Swift's "End Game" video is a jet-set party
European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) said allowing advertisers to tailor political content to personal tastes on social media such as Facebook was a danger to democracy, according to interview in Vienna's Der Standard newspaper.
"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being", wrote Zuckerberg.
Facebook's decision to refocus its news feed to show more posts from friendsand fewer posts from brands and publishers is a seismic shift with the potential to strike a major blow to publishers and businesses.
Zuckerberg said the measure became necessary to prevent public content from overcrowding user's news feed and preventing them from staying connecting with people. In the coming months, Facebook's algorithm will no longer prioritize content from news publishers and brands.More news: Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Ohio Purging Inactive Voters
By cutting back on items that Facebook users tend to passively consume, the change could hurt news organizations and other businesses that rely on Facebook to share their content. With Facebook's new changes, as the Times noted, "If a relative or friend posts a link with an inaccurate news article that is widely commented on, that post will be prominently displayed". The impact is it will demote the videos, news stories and business posts created by publishers, even if users have subscribed to their feeds.
While Facebook is certainly taking a risky move by changing up the core element of its flagship product, it doesn't seem like it will have as big of a negative impact in the short term as many investors are anxious about. The social network has been followed for important and local news by people around the globe. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience. As the years passed, the social network has moved away from that.
"We believe these changes will be beneficial to Facebook in the medium and long term".
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections.More news: Democrats say Americans want Trump impeached - here's what new poll says