Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said fewer posts from the media and other businesses will be featured in Facebook’s News Feed, as part of a new focus to prioritise “meaningful social interactions.”
In a blow to news publishers, the social media giant said the popularity of posts from organisations will potentially be affected by the changes and that they might see reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.
Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page: “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.
“It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years.
“Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do – help us connect with each other.”
He added: “We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Following these announced changes, Financial Times chief executive John Ridding said: “The FT welcomes moves to recognise and support trusted and reliable news and analysis.
“But a sustainable solution to the challenges of the new information ecosystem requires further measures – in particular, a viable subscription model on platforms that enables publishers to build a direct relationship with readers and to manage the terms of access to their content.
“Without that – as the large majority of all new online advertising spend continues to go to the search and social media platforms – quality content will no longer be a choice or an option.
“And that would be the worst outcome for all.”
Experts have warned news publishers that they will need to reduce their reliance on Facebook to survive as figures show a dramatic drop in interactions with their content on the platform during the course of last year.