Facebook to overhaul news feed with less videos and brand messages

12/01/2018

Facebook is planing to update its news feed to ensure that posts from friends are given higer priority than messages from brands or posts featuring third party videos.

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In a blog post, Facebook founder Zuckerberg said the social media site would be emphasising "meaningful social interactions" over "relevant content", meaning videos, photos and posts shared by businesses and media outlets – dubbed public content – would be de-prioritised in favour of content produced by the user's family and friends.

There will also be fewer videos, which Facebook considers "passive". Organisations may see the popularity of the posts decrease as a result, the company has acknowledged, confirming the changes will take effect over the coming weeks.

"We've gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other," Facebook CEO Mark wrote. "By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable."

The changes come as the company faces criticism that social media can make users feel isolated and depressed. Mark said the new changes will make Facebook a more positive place to be.

"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being," he said. "We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos - even if they're entertaining or informative - may not be as good."

The changes to News Feed will likely have a significant impact on the news media. As Facebook grew to dominate users’ attention time, many publishers adjusted their editorial strategies around the type of content the News Feed algorithm was promoting.

Facebook sparked outcry from publishers in six countries in October when it removed all public content from the News Feed to a separate “Explore Tab”. In a blog post accompanying Zuckerberg’s announcement, Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, said that the current changes would not be as extreme as those “tests”, and some public content will still appear in users’ feeds.

Read the full statement below:

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