Facebook to show more content from friends, less from publishers

Facebook testing local news section on its platform

A shift away from non-ad content produced by businesses is a potentially severe blow to news organizations, many of which use Facebook to drive readership, but Zuckerberg said many such posts have been unhealthy. The Wall Street Journal also reports (paywall) that news outlets' status in public polling and readers' willingness to pay for subscriptions may be considerations for favoring that content, although the company did not confirm this.

The announcement is consistent with tests to the News Feed that Facebook ran previous year, which moved all Page content (from the likes of businesses, brands, and media) from the News Feed to the Explore tab.

Mr Zuckerberg said the company had examined academic research on social media.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that a focus for the company in 2018 is making sure the time people spend on Facebook is time well spent.

That marks a tectonic shift for Facebook's algorithm which has been built to prioritize engagement (and monopolizing users' attention) above nearly all other considerations.

That's because even if people read such content on Facebook, they don't necessarily comment or interact with it in other ways. "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", Zuckerberg said in a blog post. Travis Parker Martin is the co-founder of Bootkik, a Calgary-based startup that attributes the majority of its growth to its Facebook presence.

The change to the way Facebook ranks posts will put more weight on social interactions and relationships, according to News Feed product manager John Hegeman.

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While changes in this direction were made previous year, the new update will be established in the coming months, following which users can access more personal and less public content. What Facebook wants you to spend less time doing: passively scrolling through updates on your timeline, reading articles and watching videos, but not interacting with others.

The company says people will likely spend less time on Facebook as a result.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a new vision for your news feed.

In a nutshell, Facebook is working to prioritise your personal moments and the posts you like to engage with on the news feed.

The changes come after a tough year for Facebook that included congressional hearings on how Russian Federation used it to influence the 2016 USA elections.

The changes could mean publishers see their reach and traffic decrease. He further assured that this is a good move in the long term and will also help the entire community and the business. But the pressure will be on publishers and brands to create content that generates conversations if they want to improve their odds of being seen in News Feed.

Mosseri said Facebook will "continue to value publisher content". Zuckerberg said that was in fact Facebook's expectation, but that if people end up feeling better about using the social network, the business will ultimately benefit.

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