Sunday, 21 January, 2018

How will Facebook's news feed changes affect what you see?

Facebook shares fell down by 4% after Mark Zuckerberg announced a change in News Feed feature Facebook shares fell down by 4% after Mark Zuckerberg announced a change in News Feed feature
Melba Vasquez | 13 January, 2018, 10:31

Facebook announced sweeping changes to its News Feed on January 11, 2018, saying that it would prioritize what their friends and family share and comment on while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands.

News feed changes mean users are likely to spend less time on Facebook.

Fall in shares has reached up to 6.1% ahead of the open market, following the closing just below the flatline on Thursday.

'On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos - even if they're entertaining or informative - may not be as good'.

Last June, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would tweak its formulas to try to boost membership in "meaningful" groups. The goal of the product teams would be to help Facebook's more than 2 billion monthly users find content that will lead to more meaningful social interactions, he said.

"If this change is as significant as they describe it, news organizations will go out of business or succeed based on a change that they didn't necessarily have input on", Kint said.

There have also been complaints that the news feed - a stream of messages, photographs and videos - increasingly features posts from companies rather than friends.

This change was supposed to make Facebook more meaningful. Pixabay
This change was supposed to make Facebook more meaningful. Pixabay

Tweaking users' feeds may cause the social media platform to lose some of its luster for content producers or media companies, especially video makers that can not make money on Facebook regardless of how many of their videos go viral, said Cho Sodam, founder of Dotface, a youth-oriented media startup based in Seoul, South Korea. In that vein, it's unclear for publishers how Facebook's rules on "meaningful" content will affect them. Less time, of course, means fewer advertising eyeballs at any given time.

Facebook said it quickly shut that capability down. With the changes, the company will prioritize posts that it believes are likely to spur discussion among people who know one another and reduce the kind of content that people simply scroll past or watch. While Facebook has made plenty of changes to its news feed algorithm in the past, he said, this time might be different.

Nic Newman, a digital media strategist who authors the Reuters Institute Digital Report for Oxford University, said the move is "not unexpected" because "it's been a pretty awful year for Facebook in terms of its PR" - referencing the criticism the company has faced over "fake news" and its increasing dominance, alongside Google, of the online advertising market.

"This is understandable as brands and publishers have spent a lot of money over the years to build a presence on the platform and supplied Facebook's walled-garden with content to fuel its News Feed".

"I am personally quite unhappy with the fact that Facebook decides for its users what is relevant to them and what not", Hoffman said. "They don't think there are any real cracks in the Facebook story". "But those opportunities to get in front of users will be that much more impactful if it's more selective".

"Facebook is already experiencing declines in consumption and the company is responding with these changes today", Wieser said.

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