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Facebook: Making the newsfeed more ‘meaningful’

In a post on Facebook today, Mark Zuckerberg announced, “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.”

Err . . more meaningful interactions and less focus on finding content; right, so what does this mean for news outlets and publishers?

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, posted a separate article spelling out more in the consequences for publishers, saying,  “Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

Showing less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.

This is big news to all media and marketing agencies. Essentially this means a decline in reach, referral traffic and video watches. There will be a general decline in engagement in preference for friend’s and family’s posts dominating the newsfeed in an attempt to, “encourage meaningful interactions between people,” says Zuckerberg.

The changes are likely to prioritise live video and celebrity content Mosseri observed, noting on average live videos get six times more interactions than regular videos, “We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being,” wrote Zuckerberg. “So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.”

Zuckerberg said the changes, which began last year, will start to become apparent to users over the coming months. Although he did consent they will come at some cost to Facebook’s own metrics: “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.”

Really, Mark? We’ll watch this space.




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