Published: Mon, January 15, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Facebook news feed change wipes billions off value

Facebook news feed change wipes billions off value

The company customises each user's feed based in part on posts they have interacted with in the past.

Facebook says its new system would hurt non-advertising content from publishers and brands.

Facebook said it quickly shut that capability down.

Facebook's vice president of product management, John Hegeman, said advertising will be unaffected by the changes, according to Reuters.

It is also expected to have a significant impact on the publishing industry.

That will leave businesses that want publicity on Facebook no choice but to spend more on advertising, and as a result prices will climb, predicted Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, which advises corporate brands on social media.

"I am personally quite unhappy with the fact that Facebook decides for its users what is relevant to them and what not", Hoffman said.

Ultimately, "organic reach" on Facebook-a measure of how many people saw a post that didn't receive a paid-for boost-has been in decline for some time.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Facebook to show more content from friends, less from publishers and brands".

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The new changes are "practically the nail in the coffin for completely organic posts", said Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of digital agency 360i. "For brands, this will mean more doing than saying".

Facebook frequently tweaks this ranking algorithm. Netflix's Facebook page, for example, encourages fans to talk with each other about their favorite shows.

Reducing public content is being perceived as a big blow to media publishers in particular, who rely on posting content within the platform to drive traffic. "But longer-term I think this is a positive thing...facilitating interactions between people is what social has always been about before Facebook even existed".

Markets reacted badly to the news, with shares falling more than four per cent overnight. With this update, Facebook is prioritizing posts in the News Feed that get people talking to each other in the comments. Items in the feed are ranked by an algorithm that takes into account factors like how recent the post is, likes, comments, clickbait and more.

The news feed isn't the only destination for marketers to advertise on Facebook.

"Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years" Zuckerberg writes. Advertisers can sponsor shows or buy video ads within the commercial breaks, known as mid-roll ads.

Despite some turbulence, Facebook appears to have weathered the storms so far.

"Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do - help us connect with each other".

Having first dismissed claims that Facebook, which boasts two billion users worldwide, was manipulated by foreign actors to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Zuckerberg has since performed U-turn and vowed to "fix" the site in 2018. Facebook "sits on so much traffic, you have to play by their rules".

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