News Feed Values: Facebook Says Friends & Family First in New Update

June 29, 2016
Source: Flickr - License: C.C. by SA-2.0

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Source: FlickrLicense: C.C. by SA-2.0


Changes are coming to your Facebook news feed. Facebook announced on Wednesday that news feeds would begin focusing more on content from friends and family rather than brand pages. As Lars Backstrom, Engineering Director for Facebook notes, the company “previously made an update that tries to ensure that stories posted directly by the friends [users] care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so [users] are less likely to miss them.”


Following the last update, users, especially those with many Facebook connections, continued to express concern that they might be missing updates from people they care most about, Backstrom added.


In a post explaining the changes, Adam Mosseri, VP, Product Management, News Feed, stated:


“Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family. That is still the driving principle of News Feed today. Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why if it’s from your friends, it’s in your feed, period — you just have to scroll down.”


So Facebook will place a greater emphasis on making sure users are seeing the content from their friends and family before content from Pages. This is great news for users who are concerned about missing important updates, but understandably a point of concern for brands — especially publishers.


Backstrom said that the effects of this news feed change could vary:


“Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts.”


In other words, the goal is to get people to share your content on their own pages — not just to click it on yours. To some degree or another, this has been the goal. We’re just likely to see more page owners doubling down on it.


Changes to the news feed are expected to begin rolling out in the coming weeks.


What are your thoughts on Facebook’s newest Friends & Family update to news feed?

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