Facebook has announced that it will be making dramatic changes to its News Feed, specifically how user content will be showing up in the future. Mark Zuckerberg announced January 11 that a major focus will be seeing “more from your friends, family and groups,” and less from “businesses, brands and media.”
In a Facebook post on his personal page, Zuckerberg stated, in part:
We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.
But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
…The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.
Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people…
“At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections,” Zuckerberg closed the post with. “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.”
Many used the post as an opportunity to speak out to the social media mogul, telling him exactly how they feel about the new changes:
“Can you just allow us to have our own lists and groups ourselves?,” Christine Campbell Górczyk wrote. “Let us manage our own interactions, posts we see and all that? I would love it if you would return that control to the user instead of Facebook coding you develop.”
Fionnuala Lawes expressed concerns over the latest news and how it will affect people like her who run pages, and questioned how charities specifically will be affected. “I love the idea behind this, Mark, but as someone that manages a Page for a small local children’s hospice charity in the UK, the concept that you might limit the outreach of our posts is terrifying,” she wrote. “Every penny spent on Marketing is a penny not being spent on families that need us, will registered charities be affected in the same way as other business pages on Facebook? Will our only option to keep our outreach be to boost our posts and do sponsored ads?”
“Let the user define their own experience!,” Valerie Brunmeier stated. “No algorithm can determine what is best or optimal for each person. If I like a business page that means I want to see their posts in my feed. As a user, I want to make those decisions for myself.”
How to Control Your News Feed
See Heavy’s photos and instructions below to see how Brunmeier and others can still have control over their own News Feed’s content.
First, be sure that you “like” and follow any Facebook page that you’re interested in. For this example, we’ll use Heavy.com’s Facebook page. Notice that in the image above, the “Liked” and “Following” icons are shaded in blue. This means you have physically tapped the icons in order to follow the pages. If they’re not shaded in, either right click the icons with your mouse or simply tap with a smartphone device to ensure you are following a site that interests you.
Next we’ll show you how you can control the order in which content is displayed on your personal News Feed.
After you have liked and followed a page, hover or tap the “Following” icon so that the screenshot above will show. You will have three choices; “Unfollow,” “Default” and “See First.” If it’s a page you don’t mind seeing but aren’t particularly interested in, click “Default.” If you absolutely can’t stand the page, simply click “Unfollow.” And last but not least, if you are on one of your favorite pages and want to be sure you’re hearing the latest content from them, click “See First.” By doing so you will ensure that the user’s content will always be at the top of your News Feed. You may do this with as many pages as you’d like, and posts will show up in the order of when it was posted.