The Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, said that his company is introducing sweeping changes to to the kinds of posts, videos and photos that its more than two billion members will see. The social media company would be tweaking the algorithm governing which content shows up in user’s newsfeeds, drastically reducing the amount of content from brands and publishers in favor of more content from their Facebook friends.
Zuckerberg said that his company was changing its goal from focusing on helping its users find relevant content to helping them have more meaningful social interactions. He acknowledged that the sweeping changes to be introduced in stages would mean that “the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.”
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The Facebook CEO’s latest announcement is almost a total reversal from a deal he offered publishers in 2014, whereby they could host articles directly on its mobile app, giving them easy access to Facebook’s 1.37 billion active users. The deal then seemed very attractive for smaller publishers in particular – as many were already dependent completely on Facebook for their audiences.
Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox justified the move at that time saying the company played “an increasingly important role in how people discover the news that they read every day, we feel a responsibility to work with publishers to come up with as good an experience as we can for consumers. And we want and need that to be a good experience for publishers as well.”
The vice president of product management at Facebook, Mr Adam Mosseri, who is responsible for running the News Feed today, acknowledged that with their sweeping changes “there will be anxiety” from publishers.
The move by Facebook to de-emphasise posts from publishers and brands would most certainly hurt small businesses, civil society groups, small media companies and other groups which rely on the social network to reach people.