FB shifts posts’ focus from news
Facebook said it’s making major changes to its flagship social network, shifting users’ news feeds back toward posts from friends and family and away from businesses and media outlets — a transition that is likely to mean people spend less time on the site.
In a post Thursday, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said community feedback has shown that public content has been “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” The goal of the product teams will be to help Facebook’s more than 2 billion monthly users find content that will lead to more meaningful social interactions, he said.
“By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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’s shares were down 2.5 per cent to $183 at 6:05 am in New York premarket trading.
Last week, Zuckerberg said his resolution for 2018 was to “fix” the social network he co-founded. His vow followed a year that saw Facebook come under sharp criticism for contributing to a climate of extreme political polarisation, the distribution of fake news and escalating privacy concerns.
Last year, lawmakers berated Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Twitter for failing to prevent Russian manipulation on their platforms during the 2016 US presidential election.
“This is recognition of the issues they’ve faced with toxic content,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group. “People are frustrated with the Russia revelations and fake news and have taken it into their own hands and stopped engaging.”
The Menlo Park, California-based company has kept revenue growing by consistently selling more advertising in its news feed, striking partnerships with media companies to distribute their stories, and including more video postings, which draw higher ad rates.