Facebook is set to make some major changes to its news feed to ensure that posts from businesses and brands are less prominent. In a public message, Mark Zuckerberg said the social media site would be emphasising "meaningful social interactions" over "relevant content", meaning videos, photos and posts shared by businesses and media outlets – dubbed public content – would be de-prioritised in favour of content produced by the user's family and friends. There will also be fewer videos, which Facebook considers "passive". Organisations may see the popularity of the posts decrease as a result, the company has acknowledged, confirming the changes will take effect over the coming weeks.
"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," Facebook CEO Mark wrote. "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."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced some big changes to the site's news feed
The changes come as the company faces criticism that social media can make users feel isolated and depressed. Mark said the new changes will make Facebook a more positive place to be. "The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being," he said. "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."
Just last week, Mark pledged to "fix" Facebook in 2018, saying he wanted to ensure users were protected from abuse and that time on the site was well spent. "Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it's protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent," he wrote.