Facebook is taking action to its feed algorithm again. It will introduce sweeping changes to the types of posts, videos, and photos that its more than two billion members will see most often. On Thursday, they announced that it would prioritize what their friends and family share and comment on while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands.
This is the most significant overhaul in years of Facebook’s News Feed. Over the next week weeks, users will begin seeing fewer viral videos and news articles shared by media companies. Instead, Facebook will highlight posts that friends have interacted with – for example, a photo of your child or a status update that many of them have commented on or liked.
These changes are intended to maximize the amount of content with “meaningful interaction” that people consume on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview. Facebook, he said, has closely studied what types of posts stress or harm users. The social network wants to reduce what Zuckerberg calls “passive content” — videos and articles that ask little more of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read — so that users’ time on the site was well spent.
“We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “We need to refocus the system.”
Thursday’s changes make us ask questions of whether people may just end up seeing even more content that reinforces their own ideologies if they end up frequently interacting with posts and videos that reflect the similar views of their friends or family. And bogus news may still spread — if a relative or friend posts a link to an inaccurate news article that is widely commented on, that post will continue to be prominently displayed.
The goal of the overhaul is for something less quantifiable that may be difficult to achieve: Facebook wants people to feel positive, rather than negative, after visiting.