Facebook is introducing a major change to its newsfeed. In a bid to promote more social connection and less of what it calls “passive media consumption”, the site’s newsfeed will begin prioritising content from friends and family over content from brands and publishers.
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The change effects what Facebook’s two billion users see when scrolling through their news feeds.
In an online post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is making a “major changes” to how they build the platform and product teams will now focus on helping users create more “meaningful social interactions”. Facebook product teams had previously focused on helping users find relevant content.
According to Zuckerberg, it is a return to the company’s roots and something they’ve strayed too far from.
“We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
While the changes likely won’t satisfy all of Facebook’s critics, it does mean users won’t be bombarded with advertising and viral content to quite the same levels.
Zuckerberg said he expects engagement metrics to take a hit because of the changes.
“I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”
Last week Zuckerberg pledged to “fix” Facebook in 2018.
“The world feels anxious and divided, and 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”
Today’s news marks the first significant step in his plan.