Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the social network Tuesday to discuss the 10-year mark of the launch of “News Feed.” One day prior, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
On Monday, September 5, Mark and his wife met with the Pope at the Santa Marta residence, the guest house in Vatican City where the Pope lives. The couple gave the pope a model of Aguila, a solar-powered drone designed to beam internet access to remote areas.
“We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he’s found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world.
“We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access.”
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed that the topic of discussion during Monday’s meeting was how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty and spread the message of hope, according to Silicon Valley.
The following day, September 6, Zuckerberg streamed a Facebook Live video from Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
He was joined on the live stream by some of Facebook’s original News Feed team.
“It was a really big change that now we take for granted in the product.
“At the time, nothing like that existed in the world. It has not only changed the way people think about and use Facebook today, but in a lot of ways it changed the whole industry.”
Zuckerberg claimed the feature changed people’s consumption of ideas and digital information.
“It ended up being such a basic idea of how people wanted to stay in touch on social products — now, basically every major social app today has its own equivalent of news feed.”
Facebook made some improvements to the News Feed earlier in the summer, changing the News Feed algorithm to prioritize family and friend’s posts.
News Feed also frequently suggests articles to users, and Facebook curates a list of “Trending Topics,” which is featured alongside the News Feed.
Although Zuckerberg has said that Facebook is not categorized as a media organization, several members of the News Feed founding team can be heard in the live stream describing it as a “personalized newspaper.”
Facebook has seen some criticism over the past few months regarding how the social network determines which stories and publications to highlight.
At times, “Trending Topics” have featured fake or click bait stories.
Mark Zuckerberg describes News Feed as one of the most advanced technical systems that the company has built to date.
Facebook uses an algorithm to show each user about 200 posts per day out of several thousand available articles, status updates, photos, and videos.
Zuckerberg also strongly believes that the News Feed feature has helped people consume more diverse perspectives and viewpoints.
“One of the things we’re really proud of at Facebook is that, whatever your political views, you probably have some friends who are in the other camp.
“You probably have some friends who practice different religions — or who come from different countries. In Europe, for example, the average person on Facebook has more than 50 friends from outside their own country.”
The Facebook CEO also said that News Feed makes it easier for people to consider more media sources that ever before, promoting a “plurality of opinions.”
Before the implementation of News Feed, Facebook users would have to go to an individual friend’s profile page to see their updates and posts.
The Facebook “homepage” was mainly used to show the number of pokes or messages that a user had received.
Since the creation of News Feed, Facebook users have been two times more engaged and started forming large Facebook groups with other users.
Zuckerberg plans to continue making News Feed a better and more useful feature and predicts an impressive future ahead. Tools and expression on Facebook are going to continue to become more visual and immersive.
The Facebook CEO even hinted at experiencing the app in virtual reality in the future.
[Photo by Adam Berry/Stringer/Getty Images]