Facebook has announced it will downgrade the content of companies and media. Instead, users should get to see more of their friends again.
Facebook users will see more posts from friends and family instead of companies, media and political groups. This should be the world’s largest online network again focused on the original goal of enabling personal connections, wrote founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post in the night of Friday. The change goes back to requests from users.
Corporate and media contributions should also be prioritized “to encourage meaningful interactions”. In other words, content to which a user and his friends express themselves should be placed higher in the newsfeed. At the same time Facebook will use its algorithms to predict which contributions you would like to exchange.
This means that contributions from Facebook pages will continue to find their way into the newsfeed – but preferably when the circle of friends discusses it. At the same time, content providers can buy space in the message stream of users via Facebook’s advertising platform.
Bad news for the advertising industry
For many companies and media, the changes should be a radical change. On the contrary, over the past few years Facebook had tried to become more of a platform for media content. Many media and brands rely on reaching people on Facebook – after all, the online network has more than two billion members worldwide. “It is true that the distribution of this content will decline, and this will have a significant impact on the ecosystem,” said Facebook manager John Hegeman dpa. The number of ad slots in the news feed will not be increased at the same time.
Thus, it would be conceivable that the step is fueling the competition for existing advertising slots. At the same time, even in the settings, users can ensure that the posts from pages they follow appear at the top of the newsfeed – thus canceling out the change.
“I change the goal for our product teams: instead of focusing on helping them find relevant content, they should help you have more meaningful social relationships,” Zuckerberg said.
The changes are designed to increase well-being
One reason for the changes is also that, according to studies, social media contacts with people of concern could be good for well-being. “On the other hand, reading reviews or watching videos – even entertaining or informative – may not be that good.” Facebook feels a responsibility that network services are good for well-being, Zuckerberg wrote.
Hegeman made on request, no information on how the ratio of the contributions of friends and Facebook pages in the newsfeed of the users is currently – and what value Facebook strives for.
He reckons that with the changes people would spend less time on Facebook, conceded Zuckerberg. “But I also expect that the time spent on Facebook will be more valuable.” Thus, the decision will be good for the business in the long run. “We need to refocus the system,” said the Facebook boss of the “New York Times.”
Does the social network want to defuse political controversy?
Facebook manager Hegeman denied that the changes could lead to the so-called “filter bubble” – a situation where a user of algorithms only gets content that matches his views. “It’s true that people have more friends who agree with them.” At the same time, however, most users have so many friends in the network that you are exposed to the bottom line different views.
Hegeman also said that behind the step was no attempt to defuse political controversy over Facebook content.”No, there is no political motivation behind it.” The online network had been criticized, especially after the US presidential campaign in 2016 for the spread of fake news on dubious Facebook pages.
Zuckerberg told the New York Times at the same time that the discussions about Facebook’s responsibility had prompted the company to “handle some of the negative things that can happen in the system.” He added that the birth of his two daughters changed his view of Facebook and his legacy. “It’s important to me that when Max and August grow up, they feel that what their father built up was good for the world.”