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Facebook makes friends a priority in the News Feed

14 January 2018, 12:32 | Hattie Nash

A Facebook logo is displayed on the screen of an iPad in this file

A Facebook logo is displayed on the screen of an iPad in this file

Zuckerberg announced that Facebook intends to downplay posts by news publishers, but this doesn't change the fact he runs the most powerful media and advertising company in history (don't forget Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp too). 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.

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 wants you to remember a time when you curated your list of favourite movies, showed off your new pair of shoes, shared some good news, and didn't see using Facebook as a pseudo-masochistic act of poor impulse control.

It's easy to understand how we got here. The move seeks to encourage more meaningful interactions between users and their friends and online contacts.

If Facebook doesn't want a certain conservative or liberal publisher in the feed or decides a certain local news publisher shouldn't be there either, that publisher's social media reach will die, causing it significant economic harm.

In a press release made available to the public on January 11th 2018, the head of Facebook's News Feed also explained that starting in the very near future, Facebook will begin showing you more content from your friends and family members and less content from news agencies, businesses or corporations. Additionally, content from news publishers and brands will be given less exposure on the news feed. Brands and news will be shown less.

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"The most hard thing about this", Chavern said, "is that it will impact some publishers more than others, but it really emphasizes that all are subject to these Facebook rules and they can change whenever without much rationale and without much consultation".

"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being", Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post Thursday. Updates on ranking can be expected in the next few months so Facebook users will have more opportunities for interaction.

In general, the primary theme Zuckerberg pushed on Friday is that the news feed is going to be more "meaningful".

Zuckerberg also said the News Feed change was meant to "make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people". For those who have been passively watching 90-second videos with the sound off, this is the cue for them to start looking for them on other platforms.

Zuckerberg, however, sees the change as a readjustment toward what Facebook was meant to do all along: connect people. Downplaying those posts from brands and businesses may put revenue at risk, said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. Some news helps start conversations on important issues.

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. "Good on Facebook - they are doing the right thing, long-term". By focusing on bringing people closer together-whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world-we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.



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