Comments Are The current Shares In Facebook’s Rethought News Feed
Facebook on Thursday announced sweeping changes to its News Feed, the river of content people see when they first log into the social network. The changes are intended to prioritize posts that inspire “meaningful interactions” between friends and family, while de-emphasizing passive posts from publishers and brands.
These changes are being implemented as Facebook struggles to recover from a series of controversies — fake news, abominate speech, Russian election meddling — brought approximately, in large allotment, by the company’s efforts to catch people to spend more time inside its platform.
The changes are mammoth, and they bear the potential to reshape the discourse and the economy that bear developed around Facebook — not to mention the $545 billion company’s bottom line. We won’t know their full effect until they roll out to Facebook’s 2.07 billion users, but here’s a glimpse at what they mean to start:
The comment is the current share
Shares bear long been viewed as the thing that made posts recede viral on Facebook, but now comments appear poised win their location. With this update, Facebook is prioritizing posts in the News Feed that catch people talking to each other in the comments. That puts comments, or more specifically comment threads, in position to become the current share. Facebook is making this shift after recognizing that when people browsed the News Feed without interacting with content, it was making them feel base. As the company famous in a Dec. 2017 blog post, “In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward.”
More interactions doesn’t necessarily mean better interactions
By prioritizing back and forth interactions in the comments, Facebook could also be increasing the frequency of arguments on its platform. Facebook’s challenge here will be to find a way to facilitate constructive conversations while deprioritizing flame wars.
Facebook News Feed head Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News he believes the company is up to the task. “We try and understand which interactions people find meaningful and value different actions according to how meaningful people tend to find them,” he said. “We won’t always catch it right, but overall we believe this will be healthy for the ecosystem. On problematic interactions, like hateful or uncivil comments, [we] execute actively work to identify and disincentivize, down-rank and, in certain cases, remove those.”
Advertisers will likely be upset
At Facebook’s urging, mammoth brands spent millions of dollars building easy-to-reach audiences on its platform. Then Facebook convinced these advertisers to spend millions more on sponsored posts to better reach those audiences. Now it’s telling them that, as a matter of policy, it plans to de-prioritze their relationships with those audiences.
Painful for publishers
Similarly, at Facebook’s urging, publishers spent lots of money building audiences inside its platform. Then Facebook convinced them publish content directly to its platform (remember instant articles?) and, whether they so choose, to pay to promote that content to their audiences.. Many publishers directed committed readers to follow them on their Facebook pages and some even paid to grow them further. And now, Facebook is cutting their reach.
Ironically, some of these publishers are likely responsible for fairly a few of “meaningful interactions” that bear occurred on Facebook since the 2016 presidential campaign kicked off. And, ironically, many bear produced reporting that revealed catastrophic flaws in Facebook’s platform.
A predictable outcome
Facebook attach a lot of effort into wooing publishers and brands to its platform. And publishers and brands attach a lot of effort into being there. But in the conclude, Facebook didn’t catch perfect that it wanted out of them. Sensationalized, partisan or flat out bogus news stories mislead people. Branded content made people taciturn to post their dirty-mirror bathroom selfie when for horror it would conclude up adjacent to a professionally shot video with a $3 million budget. Meanwhile, passive consumption of articles and videos made them just feel base.
Give Facebook credit and catch ready for the pain
When Facebook is determined to execute something mammoth, it goes perfect in (just quiz Snapchat). And that’s what it’s doing here. Minor fixes to Facebook’s problems with fake news, election meddling and violent content simply aren’t going to prick it. This year, Zuckerberg’s made it his personal challenge to fix these problems, and just ten days into it he clearly trying to deliver on it..
These changes won’t be painless. They’re going to distress Facebook, which Zuckerberg said anticipates a reduction in time spent on its platform and “some measures of engagement.” And it’s going to distress publishers and brands, too.
Zuckerberg said it’s going to win months for these changes to roll out fully, but when they execute, he said he hopes “the time you execute spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”