Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook move will play out in long-term

Mindy Sparks
January 13, 2018

Last June, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would tweak its formulas to try to boost membership in "meaningful" groups.

"As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media", Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page.

Shares of Menlo Park, California-based Facebook tumbled 3.9% at noon in NY, cutting Zuckerberg's fortune to $74.4 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Facebook has pushed video in its news feed in recent years, prompting many publishers to hire staff in this field in what was termed a "pivot to video". You can also unfollow a specific friend's posts, while still staying connected on Facebook; you can decide to follow that person again later. "Good on Facebook - they are doing the right thing, long-term".

However, he added: "The biggest victor out of this are users wishing to connect with friends and family".

The change casts a spotlight on the data and algorithms used to sort Facebook's News Feed, which is core to its enormous digital advertising business. 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.

A warning by Zuckerberg that people could spend less time on Facebook in the short term as a result of the changes sent the company's stock $8.29 lower to $179.47. For one, it knows how much time you spend reading an article.

At no point did he mention that video "exploded" because that's the way the news feed algorithm was designed, or that Facebook partnered with media companies to produce exponentially more video content. Months before the company went public in 2012, Facebook started featuring "sponsored story" ads in users' feeds, and it rolled out mobile advertising that same year. Since then, annual sales have soared from US$5.1 billion to an estimated US$40.2 billion previous year - and the news feed has become increasingly crowded with advertisements and posts from brands and publications. Visiting our Facebook page, rather than letting the News Feed serve our content to you, is a good way to keep up with us.

One other reason why Facebook may be updating the News Feed to include more posts from family and friends rather than news is to combat the explosion of fake news, a problem that first came to light after the 2016 USA presidential election.

However, Facebook's prioritising of video is unlikely to end soon, said Mr Newman, as it attempts to push users to its Watch video platform - an attempt to rival YouTube. That means posts like a friend asking for advice, recommendations for a trip or an article that prompts interaction, according to a post by Facebook's head of news feed, Adam Mosseri. Downplaying those posts from brands and businesses may put revenue at risk, said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co.

Facebook has trained individuals, brands and publishers to rewire their brains towards an instinctual pursuit of what they believe will capture that satisfying like or lucrative share.

Now it's his personal goal for 2018 to fix the site and weed out hate, abuse, meddling by malicious nation states, while also making it more "meaningful" and less depressing for users. More than 90 per cent of the education startup's marketing budget has been spent on Facebook ads.

"Only a few weeks ago, we decided that we might be better served growing our presence on YouTube".

It's easy to understand how we got here.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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