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Facebook will focus on friends over publishers in the News Feed

13 January 2018

Facebook has announced that it will soon effect major changes to news feed from media organisations, brands and businesses to focus on personal interactions.

Facebook has denied it is a media company, but in recent years, brands, media companies and other content creators have turned to Facebook for its unparalleled reach and engagement. It's a point Zuckerberg acknowledged in his post, writing that "video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years".

Zuck said that the change to the Facebook news feed is meant to "make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people". As such, it's time to re-balance what people see when they visit the site.

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being.

Facebook shares fell 5.4% as trading opened on Friday, January 12, after the changes were announced on Thursday.

"As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media".

The changes come in the aftermath of a 2016 United States election season that highlighted Facebook's problems with fake news and divisive content.

The change to the way Facebook ranks posts will put more weight on social interactions and relationships, according to News Feed product manager John Hegeman.

The social media platform was simply build to help people stay connected with their dear ones and necessary steps will be taken to maintain the same.

"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", CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

He cited academic research indicating that interacting with loved ones is crucial to a person's wellbeing, while reading news articles or watching shared videos may not be.

"This will be one of the more important updates that we have made".

"Some news helps start conversations on important issues". One of the big criticisms of Facebook in the past 18 months is that the content we see in the newsfeed is driven too much by Facebook's obsession with persuading people to spend as much time as possible on Facebook.

"By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down", he said.

At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections.

Facebook will focus on friends over publishers in the News Feed