Facebook Unveils Changes, Says Engagement May Fall
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, according to Bloomberg.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that 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.
"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."
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 polarization, the distribution of fake news and escalating privacy concerns.
Last year, lawmakers berated Facebook, Google and Twitter. for failing to prevent Russian manipulation on their platforms during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that allowing advertisers to tailor political content to personal tastes on social media such as Facebook is a danger to democracy.
The changes Zuckerberg promised aren’t entirely new. Facebook has been shifting the content on its news feed toward posts from friends and family and away from brands and publications for more than a year. With the latest change, Facebook’s algorithm will prioritize posts that spark back-and-forth discussion or inspire people to share and react. That means posts like a friend asking for advice, recommendations for a trip or an article that prompts interaction, according to a post by Facebook’s head of news feed, Adam Mosseri.