Facebook plans to roll-out an array of changes in the News Feed, focusing more on status updates and photos shared by friends and family of the users. The News Feed changes include cutting down on the posts from the media companies, pages and brands. Further, there would also be fewer “passive” videos.
Making time spent on Facebook more valuable
In a post on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company would make changes to the News Feed to focus more on “meaningful social interactions” versus “relevant content.” The CEO believes that after the new features are introduced, time spent on Facebook might decline, but it will be more “valuable.”
“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” Zuckerberg said.
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And as people feel more connected and less lonely, it correlates with the long-term measures of happiness and health, the CEO said, adding that passively going through the articles and watching videos, no matter how informative they are may not be as good.
Who will be affected?
Facebook’s decision is going to hurt some small businesses, publishers, nonprofits, and others who rely on the social network. Adam Mosseri, who supervises the News Feed and is also the vice president of product management at Facebook, acknowledged that “there will be anxiety” from partners and publishers who get irked by the constant changes, notes The New York Times.
Daniel Ives, the head of technology research at GBH Insights, says that publishers, who depend on traffic from Facebook, could be hit real bad, but the social networking company has “strong monetization tailwinds” in 2018 on the back of a monthly active user base of over 2 billion, according to CNBC.
Ives stated that the social networking giant will continue to grow globally and monetize users, especially on Instagram, which “remains the ‘core 1-2 punch’ that underlies our bullish thesis on the name.” Instagram had a strong user base of 800 million monthly active users in September, and the platform is the “golden jewel” in Facebook’s platform with robust monetization and ad growth potential, the analyst said.
What inspired News Feed changes?
Facebook’s new News Feed changes follow widespread criticism that social media can push people into depression and isolation. Lately, the company has also faced questions over how the algorithms sometimes lead to misleading news and misinformation in the News Feed, something that is believed to have impacted the 2016 American Presidential election, as well as, political discourse in several countries.
Russia played foul during the United States Presidential election spreading conflict-ridden and inflammatory posts and ads to influence the American electorate, Facebook revealed last year. Facebook has generously acknowledged the criticism, and now aims to make the platform a more positive place to be.
In addition, the latest development follows the recent announcement by Zuckerberg, where he cited his 2018 resolution to be about systemic issues with Facebook including abuse and hacking.
“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,” Zuckerberg said announcing his resolution.