Facebook just announced a major impending News Feed change, which is intended to improve users' mental health, but will likely cause Page admins to see a drop in engagement.
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In an effort to make the service better for people's well-being, Facebook is changing up its News Feed ranking algorithm to start showing users more posts from family, friends, and groups they are part of, and less content from businesses, brands, and media organizations. This change will likely cause people to spend less time on Facebook, but make the time they do spend there "more valuable," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.
As another consequence, Facebook Pages will likely see a decrease in "their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic," according to Facebook's News Feed Head Adam Mosseri. Pages posting content "people generally don't react to or comment on" will likely see the most significant drop in engagement, he wrote, adding that "pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect."
News of these impending changes comes after Facebook in December acknowledged that passively reading your Facebook News Feed isn't always good for your mental health. Those who interact with posts (commenting, liking, etc.) tend to feel better about themselves than those who just scroll and scroll, the company found.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it his New Year's resolution to address this problem and fix other big issues facing the social network, including abuse and hate on the platform and along with foreign attempts to spread misinformation.
"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," Zuckerberg posted on his wall late Thursday. He explained that there's more public content on Facebook today than posts from a person's friends and family, so News Feed currently shows more of the latter. But going forward, that's changing.
"We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being," Zuckerberg continued. "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."
Zuckerberg said it will "take months" for these changes to completely roll out. If you follow a specific page you want to continue seeing its content in your News Feed (like PCMag, for example), be sure to select See First in News Feed preferences.