Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Mark Zuckerberg posted about Facebook changes. It's already cost him $4.5b

Mark Zuckerberg posted about Facebook changes. It's already cost him $4.5b

Zuckerberg said on Thursday the company would change the filter for the News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands.

Instead, Facebook wants people to see more stuff from friends, family and other people they are likely to have "meaningful" conversations with - something the company laments has been lost in the sea of videos, news stories (real and fake), and viral quizzes on which "Big Bang Theory" character you are. As the company tries to return to its friends-and-family roots, news outlets like BuzzFeed, CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times will be watching closely.

"It's obvious that the days of getting exposure as a business on Facebook are coming to an end", said Michael Stelzner, the CEO of social media marketing company Social Media Examiner.

The move is an attempt to make time spent on the platform "more meaningful" for its more than two billion members, founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on the site.

"If this change is as significant as they describe it, news organizations will go out of business or succeed based on a change that they didn't necessarily have input on", Kint said. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. "It reads as something that will drive up engagement and probably push away policy risk, because they're not allowing news properties to have the same sort of presence in their feeds". In this charged atmosphere, agents working for a Kremlin-linked company, the Internet Research Agency, disseminated content that reached an estimated 126 million users in the United States in 2016, Facebook revealed to Congress during hearings on the matter previous year.

Facebook and companies from Twitter to Apple have been confronting a mounting public backlash against technology and social media, as the public grapples with a constantly connected life in which they are exposed to fake or biased news, cyber bullying and even internet addiction.

The change announced by Zuckerberg follows criticism that Facebook's algorithms may have prioritized misleading news and misinformation in people's feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election as well as political discourse in other countries. He's come a long way since November 2016, when he dismissed the notion that fake news on Facebook could have influenced the USA presidential election as a "pretty insane idea". Facebook's battle against clickbait, for instance, sent click-dependent publishers like Upworthy into a tailspin several years ago. "Good on Facebook - they are doing the right thing, long-term". Referral traffic to publishers from the site dropped 25 percent from February 2017 to October 2017, according to data from, a digital publishing analytics company.

"Facebook is already experiencing declines in consumption and the company is responding with these changes today", Wieser said. And for most, these latest changes may be subtle. "But those opportunities to get in front of users will be that much more impactful if it's more selective".

Nearly half of USA adults get at least some of their news from Facebook, according to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center.

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