Facebook Reassures Partners It'll Help Them Adjust to New Policy

Zuckerberg 33 who started Facebook in 2004 aged 19 still owns a 17 per stake in the company which went public in 2012

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Facebook to train 50,000 Nigerian SMEs in 2018In what many have described as "bad news for businesses", Facebook has announced a decision to cut back on the amount of public content - posts from businesses, brands and media - that users on the platform are exposed to. If a relative or friend posts a link with an inaccurate news article that is widely commented on, that post will still be prominently displayed.

A study published in August by NetBase found that Facebook is still the preferred brand of Internet users. In that vein, it's unclear for publishers how Facebook's rules on "meaningful" content will affect them.

Facebook wants to keep deciding for you what you see, so maybe it's a good time to decide, for yourself, to get your news in a more reliable way.

It's a move created to boost user engagement, if not time spent on Facebook. Press Association analysis of data from Newswhip found that engagements - a combination of reactions, comments and shares - with content from United Kingdom publishers' sites fell dramatically across 2017.

But while the move is likely to mean pain in the immediate future for publishers - particularly some younger viral publishers who rely heavily on Facebook to reach audience - Mr Newman suggests anything that encourages the industry to seek more sustainable models for making money may end up being a positive.

The goal of the overhaul, ultimately, is for something less quantifiable that may be hard to achieve: Facebook wants people to feel positive, rather than negative, after visiting.

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Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday he's making changes because feedback has shown that public content has been "crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other". But is he throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater?

This doesn't come as a surprise for Facebook as Zuckerberg expected the move to have a negative impact on engagement and time spent logged in but believes that a temporary hit is worth it to enhance the wellbeing of members. Product managers are being asked to "facilitate the most meaningful interactions between people", rather than the previous mandate of helping people find the most meaningful content, he said.

In the past, Zuckerberg would poll users (such as on changes to Facebook's Terms of Service).

In September, in another blow for the social network, ProPublica reported that Facebook's ad-buying platform could be used to deliver ads to users who identify as anti-Semites. Months before the company went public in 2012, Facebook started featuring "sponsored story" ads in users' feeds, and it rolled out mobile advertising that same year. Facebook is not just a social network; it's a content curator. Zuckerberg said. "If what we're here to do is help people build relationships, then we need to adjust".

The jury is still out on how seeing mostly exuberant posts from friends and family affects people over time.

On Thursday, he said numerous discussions about Facebook's responsibilities had prompted the company "to get a better handle on some of the negative things that could happen in the system".

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Facebook said it's shifting the focus of its news feed to promote "meaningful" posts, mostly from family and friends. Later in the post, he does mention academic research and Facebook's research with leading experts at universities without really going into it.

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being.

While the changes could hurt Facebook's business in the short term, happier users could make for better profits over the long term. While Facebook has made plenty of changes to its news feed algorithm in the past, he said, this time might be different. Since then, annual sales have soared from US$5.1 billion to an estimated US$40.2 billion a year ago - and the news feed has become increasingly crowded with advertisements and posts from brands and publications. You'll see more stuff from your friends and family and less from pages you like and, most importantly, this news source. He wrote: "As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media".

For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. The last part just sounds like news and videos that make people argue more, but OK.

"We believe these changes will be beneficial to Facebook in the medium and long term", said Brian Weiser of the Pivotal Research Group.

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