Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg wants to give the social media website a slight makeover. The company is rolling out new algorithms for the news feed. The ultimate goal is to become more like a newspaper, and according to All Things Digital‘s Mike Isaac, the change might backfire.
Facebook seeks quality
Zuckerberg and Chris Cox (vice president of product) are aiming to create a more unified newspaper experience with high-quality content from a variety of sources. One of the site’s product managers defined “high-quality content” as long articles on somber matters, the kind of content you would find in The New York Times or The Washington Post. The company is hoping for a more personalized newspaper experience. Although this sounds like a reasonable and smart idea, the question remains: is this what Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users really want?
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Isaac explained, “But what users are clicking on and sharing seems to be quite the opposite of Backstrom’s example: Viral stories and photos produced by publishers like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, or appearing on hosting sites like Imgur or 9Gag, perform exceedingly well on Facebook, garnering tons of clicks and engagement.”
Surveys show users want more
Most Facebook users want clever memes and interesting stories from Gen-Y skewed entertainment websites. It’s these links and posts that receive the most clicks. Unfortunately, Cox fears Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will turn into Buzzfeed thanks to the overwhelming amount of viral content spread on Facebook. Last week, All Things D discussed Facebook’s impending “Panda” changes with News Feed manager Lars Backstrom. He claims one of the reasons behind this change is to give users what the company thinks they want. Their information comes from surveys and ratings.
A few years ago, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) made a similar move with Panda, which changed how Google ranked their news sources to ensure internet users would find the best news stories.