Facebook Overhauls News Feed to Prioritize Personal Relationships

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Facebook is looking to prioritize posts by family and friends over news outlets.

A breakdown of the "closer together" initiative (also outlined in a video above) indicates news stories will get de-prioritized, while conversations that Facebook thinks will spark a lot of engagement will get a boost.

It might end up being "the most controversial stuff" that generates heated conversations, she suggested, or simply content pulled in from group pages where users engage with others on specific topics.

Facebook is radically altering the formula that determines what bubbles to the top of people's news feed, part of sweeping changes the giant social network has planned to address growing controversy over the role it plays in people's lives and in society.

People who want to see more posts from pages they follow can choose "See First in News Feed Preferences", Mosseri said. There is some consternation among publishers that this strategy could lead to a significant reduction in traffic referred from Facebook over time.

The news feed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, will show less "passive content" that invites users only to sit back and watch or read. With different, less viral types of content surfacing more often, people could spend more time elsewhere. This required Facebook to "refocus the system", he said.

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Now the Facebook CEO is kicking off the effort with a move he says is meant to boost the well-being of users, possibly at the expense of the well-being of publishers and other businesses. Product managers are being asked to "facilitate the most meaningful interactions between people", rather than the previous mandate of helping people find the most meaningful content, he said.

"As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media", he stated. The social network has been trying to weed out misinformation and hoaxes on the news feed, and has tried using third-party fact checkers to curb the problem.

Zuckerberg added that his way of running Facebook has shifted since the birth of his two daughters, Maxima and August, in recent years.

Zuckerberg said earlier this month that his personal goal for 2018 would be to focus on "fixing" many of these existential issues, including "making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent".

Zuckerberg rationalized that the changes will ultimately make for a better Facebook experience, naturally, but might actually cause people to spend less time on the social network.

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