Zuckerberg changes Facebook's focus to be more 'meaningful'

Facebook shares slip after News Feed overhaul

Facebook stock plunges on news feed overhaul Shares in Facebook dropped by more than 4 percent ahead of Friday's opening bell after the CEO announced changes to the platform's centerpiece news feed, which he said would hit user engagement in the near term.

Now, after encouraging media organizations and local businesses to spend billions building up their social media presences on Facebook - including paying billions to Facebook itself to increase page "likes" and "follows" - Facebook is changing the game midstream.

Adam Mosseri, whose title is head of News Feed, said in a blog post, "We will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in the feed".

This will be done by focusing on the content produced by friends and family and not the viral posts. Are you annoyed by how many unimportant posts you see in your News Feed? "But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable", said Zuckerberg.

But over the years, Facebook has changed the game - on you and us - by jiggering the algorithm it uses to serve you content on your Facebook feed, favoring content that keeps you inside their app longer, whether it's fake or real or whatever.

He said they feel a responsibility to ensure Facebook services are also good for people's well-being. In a series of public comments, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged what many people already knew: Facebook has become an unpleasant place that can make users feel lonely and frustrated.

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Facebook has always been criticized for creating "filter bubbles", the echo chambers of friends and like-minded people whose views are reinforced by their friends' posts on the platform.

But Gavin Adamson, who teaches digital media courses at Ryerson University's School of Journalism, said outlets will also have to rely on changes in reader behaviour if they hope to make up potential losses caused by Facebook's new focus.

"On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos - even if they're entertaining or informative - may not be as good", reveals Zuckerberg. "And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard - it should encourage meaningful interactions between people". The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

While these changes are headed in the right direction, they're still based on an algorithm and algorithms can be gamed.

"We started making changes in this direction previous year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products", Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post. Friends and family will be shown more. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook - in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. And news can help start conversations on important issues. Many of those publishers don't have the chops to create a loyal audience without an influx of readers or viewers from Facebook.

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