Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Facebook changes its news feed to focus on friends and family

Facebook changes its news feed to focus on friends and family

Zuckerberg has mentioned that for this year the mission is to "fix" the Facebook, by targeting the abuse and hate content and by ensuring that the time spent on the social giant is well spent and valuable. The impact is it will demote the videos, news stories and business posts created by publishers, even if users have subscribed to their feeds. Zuckerberg said in the post yesterday that he wanted to change the way Facebook ranks posts by putting more weight on social interactions and relationships.

In a somewhat stunning announcement, it appears as though Facebook's founder and CEO has had an existential change of heart when it comes to the product and service he wants to offer the world.

The move is an attempt to make users more engaged with the site by having "more meaningful social interactions".

Now, 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. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was named Media Matters' 2017 Misinformer of the Year, told the Times that the shift was "intended to maximize the amount of content with "meaningful interaction' that people consume on Facebook".

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With this change, Facebook aims give its users a prime spot.

If he is honest about reducing the fake and low-calorie news stories clogging up users' Facebook feed, Zuckerberg could turn to the press for help. As such, the ad rates have increased. Which is really saying something considering that almost every leading news publication and political website in the United States has seen their online traffic steadily decrease since the US Presidential election of 2016.

But the new algorithm could put an end to that trend.

Facebook's popularity and user growth have skyrocketed since its founding in 2004, when it was a sort of online scrapbook and bulletin board for college students. There will be fewer videos, which Facebook considers "passive".

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The changes may provide a benefit to Facebook's advertisers.

Consequently, the social network will slow less public content that users consume passively, so that it can more prominently display content from users' friends and family. Visiting our Facebook page, rather than letting the News Feed serve our content to you, is a good way to keep up with us. It was a tool to communicate and engage with the people you cared about. The average price per impression climbed 35% last quarter. But the possible criteria that Facebook is now considering to determine which publisher is credible - such as "public polling about news outlets" and "whether readers are willing to pay for news from particular publishers" - is vague and could be problematic to enforce. If Zuckerberg's statement on Friday is to be believed, he's chose to de-emphasise some of the business strategies that make Facebook mountains of cash and reimagine Facebook as a place for friends once again. Up until now, misinformation and fake news on social media have seemingly come from and been spread more by conservatives than liberals. The change in policy means that some digital advertising firms are going to have to do things differently on the platform.

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