Your Facebook news feed is about to change in a major way, and it'll affect what content you see when you're scrolling. Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the website will show users fewer posts from businesses and brands and will instead highlight posts from your friends and family asking for recommendations, sharing big life changes and more. Basically, expect to see a lot more engagements, baby announcements and statuses from friends when you log in. The Facebook newsfeed will now prioritize meaningful conversations, and you'll likely notice the effects. So what caused Facebook to make the change? According to Zuckerberg's statement, some users were tired of seeing content from brands and publishers.
"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they're entertaining or informative — may not be as good," he says in the statement. "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."
Depending on how you use Facebook, you may be excited or disappointed about this revamp. If you use the site to get your fill of news or watch funny videos, that’s going to be a bit harder than it once was. But if you love seeing what your friends are up to, you’ll have an easier time catching up on their lives. If your New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with the people you love, you may be able to do so without putting your phone down thanks to Facebook.
Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook, said in a press release that news feeds will change over the next few months. Business pages that don’t get a lot of interaction from fans will likely be most affected, as their posts won’t appear in news feeds very frequently. “As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it,” he said. With Instagram and Twitter both facing steady complaints from users about algorithms affecting the content they see, it's not clear yet whether Facebook’s change will be welcomed or rejected by its users. But the platform is doing work to combat the idea that scrolling through Facebook is a mindless time-waster. Zuckerberg says that he expects people will spend less time on Facebook as a result — but he doesn’t mind. Check out this excerpt from his statement:
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. 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.
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. 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.
It won’t be known how Facebook’s user base feels about the change until it’s actively rolled out, but the company is betting that you’re more interested in talking to people you know than looking at memes or reading news stories. Soon, we’ll find out whether that’s actually the case.