Facebook changes News Feed, investors click on 'sad'

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The co-founder of the world's largest social-media business saw his fortune fall $3.3 billion Friday after he posted plans to shift users' news feeds toward content from family and friends at the expense of material from media outlets and businesses.

The goal of the product teams will be to help Facebook's users find content that will lead to more meaningful social interactions, he said.

Zuckerberg wrote on a post on Thursday that the company has received feedback that public content from businesses, brands, and media have crowded people's social media feed and have left little space for personal posts where people usually interact with others.

"I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down", the Zuck-master opined.

Zuckerberg, 33, started Facebook in 2004 and still owns 17% of the company, whose share prices dropped when the news of the planned changes went public on Thursday.

In the past year or so, Facebook has attempted to employ some measures in its effort to fight fake news, including its third party fact-checking initiative.

Facebook's move to highlight posts from friends and family over those from brands and publications follows months of turmoil for the social network and will result in lower advertising revenue - at least in the short term, analysts said.


While Mr Zuckerberg described the move as being created to bring people closer together and foster more "meaningful social interactions", analysts noted that it comes amid criticism of the world's leading social network on various fronts. An avid Facebook user, Mr Arvind Konduru, said, "I often missed posts from friends and I thought they removed me as a friend". The move could be in the detriment of various businesses and news organizations that rely on the social network to increase the visibility of their content, but it should improve users' experience overall.

Still, in some ways, this new focus takes Facebook back to its roots, having started as a way to connect students on college campuses before eventually allowing all people to join in 2006. The changes could jeopardize that route to their audiences, though some speculate it could be a ploy to force these companies to buy more Facebook ads.

The changes may provide a benefit to Facebook's advertisers.

"What are we really here to do?" he told The Times. Former executives and Facebook investors have spoken out about how it and other social media sites might be hurting rather than helping society and users' psyches. Companies, advertisements, and videos clogged up users' News Feeds. Friends and family will be shown more. Some 45% of United States adults get news from Facebook, according to a Pew Research poll in September, and many news organization have come to depend on the traffic they get from the social networking - much of it generated from users clicking on stories they see in their news feeds. Zuckerberg believes passively watching videos may not be as good even if they are informative or entertaining.

To try to keep you glued to Facebook, it regularly updates the formula that decides what posts you see.

"We note that Instagram already announced 800 million MAUs in September (vs. 700 million in April) as this platform remains a "golden jewel" in Facebook's platform in our opinion with healthy monetization and ad growth set to play out in 2018 based on our forecasts".

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