Facebook creator lost R40.8 billion

In Facebook's new algorithm, posts with comments and debate from friends will get more play in the News Feed than posts that have a larger number of "shares".

Last week Zuckerberg said he would change the user engagement on Facebook where users will instead see prioritised posts from family and friends, instead of advertising content from publishers and brands.

As the biggest social media platform, with over 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook has been a top priority for investment by content marketers and PR agencies looking to meet their audience where it spends the most time online.

"By focusing on bringing people closer together - whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world - we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent", Zuckerberg said.

Let us evaluate the matrix that Facebook actually wants to pursue as a signal of success in making this change: interactions.

Facebook executives held off-the-record meetings with publications like The Wall Street Journal at the end of a year ago and spoke of renewing the focus on one-to-one communication among people who know one another over content distributed by publishers, according to a person who was familiar with these discussions but not authorised to speak publicly.

Zuckerberg also said his team has found that users interact more with live videos, as opposed to regular ones, perhaps suggesting that publishers should focus more on that type of content going forward.

Zuckerberg predicts you'll spend less time on Facebook as a result and says this will be "good for people's well-being".

The successful publishers of the future will be much more than just content producers. "We're losing hope", an undisclosed Facebook media partner told Digiday about the overhaul coming to the News Feed.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that the recent decision may bite deep into the viewership, but having happy customers will mean the business will thrive in the long term too.

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Of course, some people travel in ideologically diverse circles, and many Facebook posts - vacation photos, cat videos, unsolicited food diaries - have nothing to do with politics.

Publishers and media will now need to "play into" Facebook's new mission, by creating content that generates what the new algorithm deems a "conversation generating".

Facebook's advertising revenue will take a hit from the changes to the News Feed, but analysts say it will help de-clutter the platform and give users a more positive experience.

It also comes following academic and expert research published by Facebook last month which showed using social media can in fact leave consumers feeling worse.

"But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable", he added.

Vipul Mistry believes this is a signal to publishers and other businesses to push more of the content - and websites - that they own.

"Nobody knows exactly what impact it'll have, but in a lot of ways, it looks like the end of the social news era", Jacob Weisberg, chairman and editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, said on Friday.

Facebook's stated goal of its recalibration is to bring people together.

"We think that we're now slightly overvaluing how much time people spend on our platform and undervaluing how many meaningful interactions they have with other people", said Mosseri, who oversees News Feed.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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