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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.

Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for “well-being”


Facebook is making a huge change to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize friends and posts that spark comments between them at the expense of public content, news outlets, and importantly, the total time spent and ads you see on the social network. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook today, Im changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions. VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri tells TechCrunch I expect that the amount of distribution for publishers will go down because a lot of publisher content is just passively consumed and not talked about. Overall time on Facebook will decrease, but we think this is the right thing to do. The winners in this change will be users and their sense of community, since they should find Facebook more rewarding and less of a black hole of wasted time viewing mindless video clips and guilty-pleasure articles. And long-term, it should preserve Facebooks business and ensure it still has a platform to provide referral traffic for news publishers and marketers, albeit less than before. The biggest losers will be publishers whove shifted resources to invest in eye-catching pre-recorded social videos, because Mosseri says video is such a passive experience. He admits that he expects publishers to react with a certain amount of scrutiny and anxiety, but didnt have many concrete answers about how publishers should scramble to react beyond experimenting . . . and seeing . . what content gets more comments, more likes, more reshares. This video from Facebook examines the upcoming changes, rolling out over the next few months: As TechCrunch detailed in our deep dive on well-being last month called The difference between good and bad Facebooking, research increasingly shows that isolated feed scrolling can be harmful to peoples health while private chatting with friends and back-and-forth discussion of content can boost positive sentiments. On Facebooks Q3 earnings call, Zuckerberg said that Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits and today wrote that We feel a responsibility to make sure our services arent just fun to use, but also good for peoples well-being. Now Facebook is putting its money, and its News Feed, where its mouth is. Zuckerberg writes, 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. In a blog post detailing the algorithm change, Mosseri writes Facebook will prioritize posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to . .  Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means well show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses. In our conversation, he cited Oprahs recent Golden Globes speech as content that would fare better in the revamped feed. Live videos generating discussion, star social media creators, celebrities, Groups posts, local business events, and trusted news sources are other types of content that should get a boost. On the other hand, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. He tells me that Facebook needs to react to the way the world has changed around us, especially the explosion in video. Publishers will be forced to change strategies, and potentially lay off video staffers and those who produce quick-hit, low-quality content. Do we need more friends or news? The biggest point of contention about this change is likely that some media pundits and users will argue that seeing more news, even if it generates fewer comments than friends photos or celebrity ephemera, is what will actually bring the world closer together. Filter bubbles could potentially be strengthened by showing more posts friends, further polarizing a politically divided world. Zuckerbergs counter-argument also aligns with Facebook doubling down on what only it service, and not Twitter or news websites can offer. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years Zuckerberg writes. 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. Facebooks hope is surely that the most important news still makes it into the feed because your friends actively discuss it, though that may be giving people too much credit. Plenty of users would rather gab about their social lives than net neutrality or the tax plan. Over time, Facebooks algorithm change may be necessary to promote social cohesion and make the Internet less exploitative and more meaningful. The specifics of how it moves in this direction may injure publishers whove built up businesses overly reliant on Facebook. But its rare to see a public company announce it will immediately weaken its own business to give its customers a healthier lifestyle. You can read Zuckerbergs post in its entirety below: