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Facebook will focus on friends over publishers in the News Feed

Mark Zuckerberg says this is a reaction to how the News Feed balance has shifted in recent years. Facebook just announced that it will make sweeping changes to the News Feed, the primary place where users find content on the social network. Over the next few months, users will see "more from your friends, family and groups" and " less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media," so says CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The company says that it has heard from users that the so-called "public content" is crowding out "personal moments" that the Facebook platform was built on. Zuckerberg notes that "it's easy to understand how we got here," saying that there's been an explosion of video and other types of public content that has "exploded" on Facebook in recent years. Because of that, he said that "the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do -- help us connect with each other." As such, it's time to re-balance what people see when they visit the site. In addition to focusing on interactions between friends rather than media or businesses, Facebook will prioritize posts that "spark conversations and meaningful interactions." To achieve that, the company's algorithms will try and predict posts that you'll want to interact with your friends about and show them higher in the News Feed. As a result, Facebook Pages used by businesses and media will be de-prioritized; the company freely admits that reach, video watch time and referral traffic will likely decrease. Somewhat ironically, though, Facebook notes that live video is a strong driver of engagement and discussion -- six times greater than regular video. As such, those types of videos may still be popping in your feed, even from Pages. Zuckerberg cited a recent study the company conducted about how using Facebook can correlate to your moods. Specifically, the study indicated that when using social media to make connections with people they care about, people come away feeling good about themselves. Conversely, passive reading of articles and watching videos can provide the opposite effect. Zuckerberg notes that's the case even if the content in question is entertaining and informative. Ultimately, Facebook seems to be moving back towards what made it such a success in the first place: person-to-person connections. Indeed, he's even positioning a recalibration of Facebook as something of a legacy for him. Mike Issac at the New York Times reports that he's been rethinking how he views and will run Facebook since having children, even if it'll be detrimental to the company in the short term. " It's important to me that when Max and August grow up that they feel like what their father built was good for the world," Zuckerberg said to the NYT. The Facebook CEO promised last week that his goal for 2018 was to fix many of the problems the company has been dealing with in recent years, and it looks like he's not wasting any time to get to work.

Zuckerberg: Facebook engagement will likely decline after News Feed changes that show more posts by friends

Facebook users can expect to see more posts from their friends and family in their News Feeds in the coming months, the company announced today. Posts that generate high levels of engagement will also be featured higher in the News Feed. Businesses and organizations with Facebook Pages may experience a decline in pageviews and engagement as a result of the change, said Facebook head of News Feed Adam Mosseri. As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease, Mosseri said. In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would direct product teams to focus on helping people find meaningful social interactions. More public content has meant Facebook has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other, Zuckberg said. Now, I want to be clear: 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. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too, he said in a post about the News Feed change today. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since theres more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of whats in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other, he said. The News Feed shift comes one month after Facebook acknowledged social media consumption can make its users feel bad or report declines in mental health. The admission came in a blog post titled Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?, part of the companys Hard Questions series. A University of Michigan study cited in the blog post and again by Zuckerberg today found that students who passively consume 10 minutes of News Feed content reported feeling worse at the end of the day. Conversely, Facebook concluded in its post last month, actively engaging in conversation with those close to you is linked to improvements in well being. This definitely isnt the first time Facebook revealed changes to the News Feed that serve up content from your loved ones and rank other posts lower. Tweaks to surface more content from friends and family in the News Feed were also announced in June 2016 and April 2015. Last month, Facebook announced plans to reduce engagement-bait spam posts, the kind that encourage you to Like something because youre an Aquarius or invite people to Like a post for a chance to win a car. In other Facebook news this week, we learned the social media company may reveal a video chat device named Portal in May, rumorrd to be priced around $499. Zuckerbergs reported priority with the device, one of Facebooks first pieces of hardware, is to change user behavior and how they interact on the social network.