Facebook is making some drastic changes to its News Feed by tinkering under the hood and re-configuring their algorithms.
Nothing lasts forever. This year, Facebook made that clear in their announcement they will drastically overhaul their news feed. Brands and businesses will take the hit, as messages and photos posted by family and friends will now be the priority in the elusive Facebook algorithm. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO, announced the changes in his own news feed posting.
- Facebook users will see fewer posts from businesses and brands in the future.
- Prohibition of ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.
- Messages and photos share by friends and families will take priority no matter the time posted.
- Facebook will begin prioritizing the placement of local news in the News Feed, the company said today. The move means that you’re more likely to see stories from your local newspaper or television station. While the changes are currently limited to the United States, Facebook plans to introduce them globally.
Why is Facebook changing its news feed?
To hear Zuckerberg explain it, the increase in news articles and marketing has created an imbalance that “is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Based on Facebook’s internal research and outside studies, he said that people are generally happier and have a better “well-being” when they use social media to connect “with people we care about.” What “may not be as good,” however, is merely “reading articles or watching videos,” even if they’re informative or entertaining.
Left unsaid are the controversies Facebook has faced in recent years over its relationship with the news industry. For example, critics slammed Facebook (FB, +1.03%) for failing to prevent the spread of misinformation, dubbed fake news, on the news feed during the run up to the U.S. 2016 presidential election.
The company also made an unpopular decision in 2016 to block a Norwegian newspaper editor from posting an iconic Vietnam War photo of a terrified, naked child fleeing her village after a vicious napalm attack. At the time, Facebook noted the photo’s historical relevance, but said it was “difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.” Eventually, after a fierce backlash, Facebook allowed the photo on its service.
Facebook has likely had enough of these kinds of editorial dilemmas, as the company has long argued it’s not a media company in the traditional sense, but rather a platform that happens to distribute other publishers’ content. Showing less of this kind of content eliminates some headache for Facebook, which can then put more energy into making money.
How will businesses and advertisers be affected?
Online advertisers and businesses that distribute marketing through the news feed will face similar challenges as the news industry.
“Facebook has clearly put a stake in the ground that user experience is more important than the brands that pay them,” HubSpot’s senior product marketing manager Marcus Andrews said in a statement. “By making this shift they clearly prioritized one over the other, and are potentially a bit nervous about the current (really negative) narrative about the negative impact of social media on society.”
Businesses may actually end up buying more online ads on Facebook to promote themselves, because simply creating content and attempting to share it on the news feed for free will no longer work as well as it once did. “That definitely is a potential consequence” Wiseler said.