Facebook has just announced that it will be introducing a ‘major change’ to the News Feed, presenting more content from people you know and less public content from brands, media and more. These changes started to a certain degree last year, and they will increase in the following months, the ultimate goal being that Facebook wants to “encourage meaningful interactions between people.” Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailed these plans in a long post.
Facebook recently responded to criticism that social media makes people feel worse by highlighting a bunch of research saying that it is how you use the social network that matters. Use it correctly and it’ll improve your life and sense of well being; use it incorrectly and you’ll feel lonely and isolated.
A new post from Zuckerberg seems to circle back around to that topic in a roundabout way, mentioning that research in a long post announcing what he calls a “major change” coming to your News Feed.
In addition to seeing more from your friends and family, Facebook users will be seeing “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” That may be bad news for companies and content creators who rely on Facebook for significant amounts of their traffic, but how drastic the change will be isn’t clear yet.
Zuckerberg warns, “Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.” However, he says the time users spend on Facebook “will be more valuable” than it currently is. Whether such big changes will please users is unclear, though.
The business decision seems to be based at least partly on growing reports that social media platforms like Facebook can have a negative effect on a user’s mental health. Many former users have taken to platforms like Reddit to announce that their sense of well-being has improved since deleting their Facebook accounts. User who have already left may not be willing to return despite big changes like this.
However, Facebook risks upsetting brands and media that may decide the platform is no longer worth putting effort into. In a post, the company explained:
Users will have the option of choosing Pages they want to “See First” in their News Feed Preferences so that posts from those Pages show up in their feeds. Otherwise, they’ll start seeing posts from friends and family get priority.