Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced changes to the social network’s news feed that are expected to have significant ramifications for all of the site’s users and advertisers.
Zuckerberg made the announcement through a post on his own Facebook profile, in which he says he feels a responsibility to ensure his company’s products are designed for the general public’s well-being. The key change coming to the Facebook platform will be a shift in the news feed algorithm, which is the landing pages that all users see when logging in to the site. Zuckerberg says the company has heard feedback that advertisers and branded pages are consuming too much of the news feed, and so he intends to alter the site’s focus so that content from a user’s family and friends becomes the focus of the feed.
Zuckerberg says that part of what drove his decision was his own experience of becoming a father. No details have been released regarding when the news feed changes are expected to go into effect.
As a publicly traded company, Facebook felt an immediate impact by the release of Zuckerberg’s comments. The price of the company’s shares fell the morning after the news feed announcement, based primarily on concerns that user time and engagement metrics will drop as a result of the changes to the company’s content algorithm.
Facebook has faced steep criticism in recent months, especially surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether its algorithms may have influenced users in a negative manner. The coming changes to the news feed will de-emphasize the reach of content publishers, especially those media sources that distribute false or misleading information.
Zuckerberg says he hopes his announcement will help to return the company to its original focus of helping people build stronger relationships online. He admits that the news feed changes may be costly for the company in the short-term, but he believes it will ultimately create more meaningful content for the platform.