Facebook to overhaul news feed to promote 'meaningful' posts

Facebook Founder and CEO Zuckerberg announced the changes on Thursday.
Facebook Founder and CEO Zuckerberg announced the changes on Thursday. Copyright REUTERS/Stephen Lam
By Sallyann Nicholls
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Content published by businesses, brands and media will become less visible in favour of posts from users’ friends and family.


Facebook says it is overhauling its news feed to make “meaningful” posts more visible. Public posts from companies will become less visible in favour of content published by users’ friends, family and groups, and posts that encourage "conversation" and "debate".

The changes will be rolled out in the coming months.

In a statement published on Facebook on Thursday (January 11), its founder Mark Zuckerberg said the move comes in response to negative feedback and academic research.

“Recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” he said.

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being.

“On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good.”

The overhaul means posts from businesses, brands and media will be demoted in the news feed unless they inspire back-and-forth discussion in their comments, or popular engagement in terms of shares and reactions.

Facebook listed live videos, and posts from video creators and celebrities, as good examples of content that are more likely to prompt meaningful discussion on the platform.

Zuckerberg said he hoped the shake-up would boost the well-being of Facebook's two-billion-member community and make their time spent on the site “more valuable”.

“By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” he said.

“But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

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