Facebook on Thursday announced big changes to its News Feed that will prioritize content so it will promote meaningful conversations between friends and family. This move is expected to hurt publishers that rely on traffic from Facebook. Their plans are to promote posts that generate discussions over those that are passively consumed, it said. Company executives say they hope the changes will make people feel better about using Facebook, following a year in which critics have warned of its negative effects.
The changes are intended to maximize the amount of content with “meaningful interaction” that people consume on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview. Facebook, he said, had closely studied what kinds of posts had stressed or harmed users. The social network wants to reduce what Mr. Zuckerberg called “passive content” — videos and articles that ask little more of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read — so that users’ time on the site was well spent. “We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
“We need to refocus the system.” Mr. Zuckerberg said he was now focusing his company around the new approach. Product managers are being asked to “facilitate the most meaningful interactions between people,” rather than the previous mandate of helping people find the most meaningful content, he said. Mr. Zuckerberg added that his way of running Facebook has shifted since the birth of his two daughters, Maxima and August, in recent years. He said he had rethought the way he views his and Facebook’s legacy, even if it will cost the company in the short term.
Decreasing brand and publisher exposure in the News Feed is likely to deliver significant a decrease to these brands, which rely on Facebook to reach their customers and readers.
Here's Zuckerberg's full post: