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Facebook Changes Display of News Feed

Social media giant Facebook has released details of a massive shake-up to its News Feed algorithm, with the site now prioritising posts by friends and family over those from news outlets and businesses.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his own Facebook page, saying: “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.”

He added: “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.”

The update will prioritise posts that trigger “conversations and meaningful interactions between people” and aims to boost levels of interaction. However, at the same time, certain brands, businesses and media organisations may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease dramatically. Many argue this new approach is a way to encourage these brands to pay to promote posts.

Vice-President of Facebook’s NewsFeed function Adam Mosseri also told US technology publisher TechCrunch: “I expect that the amount of distribution for publishers will go down because a lot of publisher content is just passively consumed and not talked about. Overall time on Facebook will decrease, but we think this is the right thing to do.”

Tech magazine Wired summarised the new look Facebook: “Ultimately, this algorithmic update is an attempt to get people spending more time on Facebook and make the network more profitable. Facebook is future-proofing, regardless of the cost.”

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