Facebook announced yesterday that it will begin to prioritize posts in the News Feed from friends and family over public content and posts from publishers. It will also move away from using "time spent" on the platform as a metric of success and will instead focus on "engagement" with content, such as comments.
Why it matters: Facebook is the most widely-used news and information platform in the world; almost half of Americans rely on it for news. These changes will significantly impact the way people around the world receive and distribute information, possibly limiting the spread of fake news.
- Moving forward, Facebook will prioritize "posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions" between people.
- Pages will still remain in the News Feed, but they will likely see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.
Facebook Head of Product Adam Mosseri says the move is more about valuing stories that facilitate meaningful interactions between people. "As it turns out people interact more with stories from friends than from publishes, and so on — average friends and groups see gains and publishers see less distribution."
It's not good news for everyone. The change will completely shift the publishing landscape, to the disadvantage of publishers that rely on the tech giant for traffic (more below). And it will force investors and marketers to cope with the advertising revenue headaches caused by the new format.
But, but, but: Facebook Journalism Project lead Campbell Brown told publishers in an email that the change will not affect links to publisher content shared by friends.