Facebook plans major news feed change

Facebook is making a major change on how its news feed works— limiting posts from businesses, brands and media—and making sure users on the social network have more "meaningful" experiences.

The company made the announcement on Thursday, adding that the plan is to ensure that their product would be fine tuned in a way that it makes people feel like their time was "well spent".

CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, explained via his page that the platform's news feed would emphasize contents that promote conversations among family and friends who frequent the site.

The aim according to Zuckerberg, is to prioritize "meaningful social interactions" over "relevant content", and though he acknowledges that this might cause a decrease in usage of the social networking site.

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

"But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable," added Zuckerberg. "And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too."

People who frequently search for products or follow pages—such as the best online casino—would notice less of such information on their news feed. The company noted that organization and pages on Facebook may witness a decline in popularity of their post as a result of the change.

The changes are bound to take effect over the coming weeks; Zuckerberg noted that users would start seeing lesser posts from publishers and businesses, and more posts from family and friends.

"We've gotten feedback from our community that public content - posts from businesses, brands and media - is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other," wrote Mr Zuckerberg.

He said that he and his team felt a sense of responsibility to make sure the social networking site was beneficial to its users' overall well-being.

Zuckerberg in a previous post vowed to "fix" Facebook in 2018, after the company faced intense scrutiny over fake news allegations, negative mental health effects and harboring harassment. He has now pledged to ensure that users are protected from all forms of abuse and ensuring a more productive experience, plus healthier relationships with other users.

Gabriel Kahn from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said that the company was currently under the spotlight and trying to ensure it makes the right moves.

"Facebook is in the midst of all of these fires it's trying to put out, it's trying to reassert its warm and fuzzy brand value that it has always tried to put forth," he told the BBC.

Mr Kahn remarked that the announcement from Facebook meant that the company possessed significant power over the health of the society.

He also added that the new changes could drastically affect the way conversations are made.

"There should be public debate about the values they're applying to that algorithm," he said.

Mathieu Blake

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