Mark Zuckerberg Announces Major News Feed Changes

by Nancy Myrland
Contact

Mark Zuckerberg Announces Facebook News Feed Changes

If your Facebook News Feed has historically been dominated by updates from brands, businesses, and news media, get ready for a major shift. Starting right away, you will begin seeing updates mostly from friends and family.

Some of you might be ecstatic about this, while others are quite irritated because you like the Facebook that you had a hand in shaping; the one that allowed you to follow and like businesses and personal brands that interested you, as well as updates from people you like.

Those of us who also use Facebook to communicate professionally haven’t been too happy about these changes.

Facebook’s Algorithmic Stick Grows Even Heavier

What you need to know today is that the trend you’ve seen of all social media sites wielding a heavy algorithmic stick is going to continue. Facebook’s stick is getting even heavier, telling us it is certain it is for our own good and that it will make us even “happier.” More on that in a moment…

The Explore Feed on Facebook 

To understand how we arrived at this point, let’s back up a step. We’ve known for quite some time that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg intended to minimize the unpaid distribution of your firm’s page content in the News Feeds of those who have chosen to like your page.

Since the Fall of 2017, in other countries outside the U.S., specifically Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, Facebook has been testing a News Feed that contains a separate tab for business content called the Explore Feed. TechCrunch covered it in this article. Explore keeps the business content out of the personal News Feed so users can see more updates from people, not pages.

As you might guess, business professionals weren’t happy about this news at all. One interesting aspect about Explore is that it also surfaced business content from brands and firms the user was not following, thus opening opportunities for discovery of a firm’s content to those who didn’t follow it before.

Facebook quickly responded to those concerns. On October 23, 2017, Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed for Facebook, assured us by saying:

“We currently have no plans to roll this test out further.”

He explained the purpose of this test by saying,

“We always listen to our community about ways we might improve News Feed. People tell us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family. We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages.”

In an attempt to clear up the various articles and discussions that were taking place since this Explore Feed was discovered, Adam told us:

(Read closely as it will feel very familiar to what was just announced yesterday by Facebook):

“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further. There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore. Unfortunately, some have mistakenly made that interpretation — but that was not our intention.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Commitment To Fix Facebook

On January 4, Mark Zuckerberg posted his 2018 personal challenge. Here are the most important parts that appear to be leading to the announcement about this change in News Feed we learning about yesterday.

“Today feels a lot like that first year. The world feels anxious and divided, and 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.”

Mark creates a personal challenge for every new year. His challenge for 2018 leans toward acknowledging that Facebook is broken and needs to be fixed. Think fake news, election debacles, hatred, bigotry, and other ugly activity we now see regularly on the site.

Mark Zuckerberg tells us:

“My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory.”

Fast Forward One Week To Mark Zuckerberg’s News Feed Announcement 

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced he has given marching orders to make a massive change to Facebook’s News Feed in order to push changes similar to those tested in Explore.

Mark stated that he feels it is now Facebook’s responsibility to care about our well-being:

“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

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.”

Mark indicated Facebook will now move away from helping us find relevant content:

“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.

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.”

Facebook followed Mark’s announcement with a blog post and explainer video.

Increased Emphasis on Groups

In 2017, Mark made it clear that he values community, and that he would be paying a lot of attention to groups as important places to gather and connect. After he began discussing this, we then began to see new features added to groups. With this change to News Feed, this makes groups important places to consider when you have information you want others to see or hear.

What Does Wall Street Think?

This morning, Business Insider wrote that Facebook’s stock price has been dropping since the announcement. It’s too early to tell the impact of these changes on the stock price, but it will be interesting to watch.

What Does Mari Smith Think?

Just moments ago, my first social media mentor and Facebook expert, Mari Smith, finished a Facebook Live broadcast, where she outlined these 6 reasons she thinks these changes are being made:

  1. Positive sentiment for users
  2. To appease the government
  3. Eradicate fake news and clickbait
  4. Deal with the diminishing amount of ad inventory in mobile newsfeed
  5. Gear up for a major digital television destination and tap into TV ad dollars
  6. Gear up for more exclusive streaming right (recent Golden Globes red carpet party, lost bid for Indian cricket league, etc.) 

What Do I Think?

Throttling of Page updates is not new. It’s not a great development, but it’s not new. Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement yesterday confirmed what appears to be a steep ramp-up of this effort. This is different.

I must say I am a little concerned about this change as it is not just about adjusting the Facebook News Feed algorithm this time, but also about trying to change the way people behave. Facebook is telling us it doesn’t want people to do anything passively on Facebook any longer, which goes against what many people feel comfortable doing. Not everyone likes to interact.

There is a difference between acknowledging you will create spaces for those who like to interact with content, and penalizing those who don’t. This will be an interesting experiment, for sure.

I think what firms and businesses need to know in the coming days is:

  • Your (already) minimal page exposure in News Feed will be even worse from now on.
  • Pay-to-play for Pages is most likely going to be the name of the game for the foreseeable future (until Facebook tinkers with the algorithm again, which will happen).
  • Groups should be discussed. If you have content that is interesting, or news that brings others around to discuss or interact, groups might be an option to consider. Be very careful, though, as they are a lot of work to start, nurture, and maintain.
  • Livestreaming should be a part of your 2018 strategy. Facebook has stated gathering around live content is valuable in News Feed. While you’re there, don’t be afraid to gently ask your viewers to share, react, and comment as Facebook has stated it also values this kind of active content. Livestream video garners 6 times the amount of views than pre-produced video.

Again, stay tuned as we watch this unfold. In the meantime, how do you feel about these changes?

 

Written by:

Nancy Myrland
Contact
more
less

Myrland Marketing & Social Media on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.