Facebook plans to make major changes to the News Feed in 2018 to promote more “meaningful” interactions, the company made this statement on Thursday. This Facebook plans to do by promoting posts that generate discussions over those that are passively consumed. Company executives hope the changes will make people feel better about using Facebook, following a year in which critics have warned of its negative effects on society and high-profile former employees have distanced themselves from their creation.
In a post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being”. He added that the vast increase in posts from publishers, both article links and video, had tilted the News Feed experience to something more passive and less satisfying. The changes announced Thursday are designed to favor posts that spur conversations.
Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed said “We will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to — whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”
It’s not the first time Facebook has sought to rebalance the site in favor of friends and family. In 2016, it announced that it would favor posts shared by people you know over those shared by pages owned by publishers and other businesses. In 2015, it introduced changes that reduced the reach of pages in favor of friends and family.
Zuckerberg said he expects that the changes introduced this year will cause people to spend less time on Facebook. “By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” he wrote. “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.”