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Mark Zuckerberg Promises Major Shakeup Of Facebook Newsfeed

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

More personal posts and less commercial content will be promoted on users’ Facebook Newsfeed, CEO says

Facebook is to undertake a major shakeup of its newsfeed after concern that public content (i.e. adverts and clickbait from businesses, brands and media) is crowding out people’s personal moments.

The significant change was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook page, and is part of his effort to ensure that people’s time on Facebook “is time well spent.”

It comes after Zuckerberg recently vowed to “fix” Facebook in 2018, and he pledged to protect users from abuse.

zuckerberg facebook © Kobby Dagan Shutterstock

Less Adverts

Zuckerberg in his post explained that Facebook had always been designed from the start to help “people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.”

“Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness,” he wrote. “But 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.”

“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being,” he added. “ Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Essentially, it means that Facebook users can expect in the coming weeks to see more content from family, friends and groups in the newsfeed, and less clickbait and adverts.

“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” he wrote.

But he said that content that sparks conversations among family and friends who use the site will be emphasised.

“At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections,” he concluded. “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 said in another post that it will be making changes to ranking, so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.

But there is likely to be a financial impact from this move, as Facebook is highly dependent on ad sales, although the company said last year that revenue from adverts had hit a saturation point.

And organisations such as publishers that rely on Facebook for exposure may see the popularity of their posts decrease as a result.

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User Irritation

For many users, one of the most irritating change happened back in 2011 when Facebook began inserting adverts into users newsfeeds and updates.

This happened despite research that British people resented big brands invading their social networks.

Another irritation also came when Facebook began inserting videos that automatically played when the user scrolls to them. This caused complaints from mobile users, arguing that these videos swallowed their precious mobile data allowance.

Yet the newsfeed is the central component of the Facebook experience: it provides a stream of updates from friends and ‘liked’ organisations, including pictures, music and videos.

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