Mark Zuckerberg has announced potentially the biggest change to Facebook’s News Feed since the site was first created.
In a post on the social network, Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook would start to focus more on personal interactions while making posts from businesses and media less prominent.
“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content ― posts from businesses, brands and media ― is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” explained Zuckerberg.
In response to this, and feedback from research, Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook will drastically overhaul the way the News Feed delivers its content.
The balance will now be heavily weighed in favour of seeing personal updates from your friends while reducing the number of brands and media posts.
If you do see a branded post or one from a media organisation it will be held to a new standard which requires it to create “meaningful interactions” between you and the people in your network.
“It’s easy to understand how we got here.” writes Zuckerberg. “Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, 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.”
While the changes are a response to public feedback, Zuckerberg says that the changes are also based on research around people’s wellbeing.
“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being.” he writes.
“We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos ― even if they’re entertaining or informative ― may not be as good.”
The first changes are expected to be rolled out over News Feed in the coming weeks while this new direction for Facebook will take months to start filtering through to all of Facebook’s products.
Finally, Zuckerberg admits that the changes will see a change in the way people use Facebook.
“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.”
Facebook has already been experimenting with a second news feed called Explore Feed.
Unlike the one you see when you login this one is designed to help you escape the “echo chamber” effect that has plagued the social media giant.
Its conventional News Feed is arguably the best and the worst feature that Facebook has. While it is an infinitely scrolling treasure trove of updates, the content within it is ultimately determined by the friends you have and pages you follow which means that it can create something of a bubble.
Much like Instagram’s own Explore tab, the Explore Feed is designed to bring you content exclusively from pages and people you either haven’t seen before or haven’t liked yet.
According to International Business Times, the content it shows is customised to each person individually but there’s no way to tailor the content beyond that.
It’s a mixture of pages, video content and images.