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article imageFacebook overhauls the News Feed to prioritise real people

By James Walker     Jan 12, 2018 in Internet
Facebook's announced a series of major changes coming to its News Feed that will prioritise posts from your real friends and family. Articles and videos published by Pages will be demoted. Facebook said it wants to improve "personal well-being."
Meaningful interactions
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the significant overhaul of the News Feed in a post on the platform this week. He said the company "feels a responsibility" to ensure Facebook is "good for people's well-being." The social network has decided to head back towards its roots, emphasising status updates from friends above the latest news articles from publishers.
Once the update rolls out, you'll be more likely to see content from individuals at the top of your News Feed. Posts will be ranked so the ones with the most "meaningful interactions" display first, above generic articles and posts from Pages. The amount of public content displayed to any user will be intentionally limited, making this one of the most major Facebook algorithm changes.
The company is choosing to deliberately restrict the exposure of its most important content. It acknowledged that Pages are likely to experience a drop in their content's distribution, which could lead directly to reduced ad revenue.
Facebook's still not certain what the overall impact will be for publishers. News Feed VP Adam Mosseri told the Verge that pages will have to "experiment" as the changes rollout. Strategies that work for one publisher may prove ineffectual for another with a different audience.
Making Facebook "time well spent"
The overhaul comes after a difficult year for Facebook. Concerns about fake news, misleading content and foreign ad purchases have created a degree of resistance to the company's reliance on public content.
In response, Facebook has moved to prioritise "meaningful" interactions with friends and family, conceding that most Facebook users find these posts the most valuable. Facebook's also turning its attention towards local communities, signalling a shift away from its previous focus on global news.
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"At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections," said Zuckerberg. "By focusing on bringing people closer together – whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world – we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent."
Facebook stressed that content from Pages will still appear in the News Feed but is likely to be positioned below user-created stories. The update is a separate change to recent trials that moved all Page content into a dedicated "Explore" tab.
Facebook's now decided to keep Page content displaying in the News Feed, albeit with restrictions on how many posts get to be inserted. The changes will launch "over the next few months."
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