Facebook is changing the News Feed, focusing on posts from family and friends rather than those from pages and brands. The social network is also trying to initiate more meaningful social interactions, which will be promoted above more passive activities such as watching videos.
Facebook had mixed fortunes in 2017. One the one hand its userbase continued to grow, but on the other hand it faced criticism over the way it’s changing society. This led to founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg promising to fix Facebook in 2018, and those efforts are starting to bear fruit.
Mark Zuckerberg Makes Changes
In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg has explained how the site is “making a major change to how we build Facebook.” He continued, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
The best approach to using Facebook is to not use it at all https://t.co/fHDNfo47Jr
— Jon Russell (@jonrussell) January 12, 2018
These changes will take months to come to fruition, but eventually “you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard.” The idea being to “encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Zuckerberg expects this to mean that “the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.” However, conversely, “the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable,” making it “good for our community and our business over the long term.”
Two Big Takeaways From This
There are a couple of takeaways from this. First, this is Facebook responding to recent criticisms that it, and social media in general, is harming society. By focusing on family, friends, and social interactions, it’s moving away from the passive scrolling that is potentially harmful.
Secondly, this is Facebook reverting back to its core mission. Which is to help people connect with real people. As it grew Facebook welcomed brands, websites, and video creators into the fold, but what Facebook users actually want is to see what their family and friends are doing.
Brands Are the Biggest Losers
This is good news for Facebook users, who should start seeing more posts they actually want to see from here on in. It’s also good news for Facebook itself, with pages more likely to have to buy advertising to get their brand in front of people. Making brands the big losers here.
Facebook's pursuit of news content can be viewed as a vestige of its war with Twitter. Facebook won that war. Twitter owns news now and Facebook is okay with it. Meanwhile, news content brought Facebook a lot of grief. So it doesn't mind deprioritizing it.
— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) January 12, 2018
Do you still use Facebook? How do you feel about the way it has changed over the years? Do you welcome these changes making family and friends the main focus? Or do you use Facebook to keep up with updates from pages and brands? Please let us know in the comments below!