Facebook Inc. released an announcement this week informing users and publishers of a big algorithm change that will directly affect the content that people will see on their news feeds. The company revealed that it would deprioritize articles and videos from media publishers and show more posts from a user’s friends and family members. The move is likely a continued effort by the social media and social networking company to limit its liabilities pertaining to the proliferation of fake news and low-quality content on their website.
According to the Facebook’s announcement, the majority of the changes will involve how its sophisticated algorithm sorts posts to put in its user’s news feed. Each and every user is served up a unique set of posts on their news feed that is based on their past and current behavior on the website. This includes the type of posts they liked, links they have clicked, what their friends are posting, and other factors.
Facebook will apparently still be using the same parameters to rank different posts on a particular users’ news feeds, but they will reportedly be showing less of the types of posts that its algorithm deems to be less “meaningful.” How exactly this is determined remains a mystery, but this does put a lot of responsibility on Facebook to properly determine the “right” content to place on people’s news feeds.
In an interview with The Times, Mark Zuckerberg explained that the company’s goal is simply to encourage more “meaningful interactions” with its users by prioritizing content that they believe would stimulate discussion. The upcoming overhaul would also lessen the proliferation of the kinds of content that people just simply scroll past and ignore.
While this may be a good thing for users, in the long run, some publishers now fear the worst. A lot of media publishers and advertisers do heavily depend on the social media platform to drive traffic to their websites. Some publishers fear that the change could result in a drastic reduction in traffic referred to them from Facebook. However, other publishers believe that the move could become beneficial for legitimate media companies as it would essentially weed out low-quality publishers from the site and discourage them from posting spam content on the platform.