Following years of changes in their algorithm (since 2013),Facebook announced their very recent changes on January 11 and 19 this year.
The changes that were announced (as seen on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page) arefor Facebook to prioritize content that will encourage meaningful interaction betweenpeople; and to prioritize trustworthy, informative, and local news. The 2Billion users on Facebook will see less public content (content frombusinesses, brands, and media will be down from 5% to only 4%) in their News Feed.These changes followed the shift on Facebook’s mission to give people the powerto build community and bring the world closer together.On a speech at the first Facebook Community Summit in Chicagoon June 2017, Zuckerberg stated that he envisioned users to become parts ofvarious groups connected by things they care about and and find to be meaningful.Despite their 2 Billion users, only 100 million people are members of suchgroups. Following this mission, he wants users to not only just passivelyscrolling through their feed but also to take part in communities. Thischanges, in the long run, was hoped to engage more people in the platform.
Inthe next 5 years, Facebook targeted for more than 1 Billion users to be part ofthis groups.In the annoucement post, Zuckerberg also warned that the tweakin the algorithm can cause people to spend less time on Facebook (since thenews feed is popularly become a place where users can mindlessly scroll through,something that want to be changed by Facebook itself). This has caused a redalert for advertisers. Facebook insists that though the overall time peoplespent might decrease, they want to make sure that the time spent is meaningful.What Facebook trying to do is maximizing the time people spend in their groups.Alex Deve, the product director for Facebook Groups, said in a statement that, “Whilethe company doesn’t currently place ads in its groups, it can’t speak to futureplans.”Yet, these changes also seen positively as some expertsbelieve that Facebook strive to make the News Feed a more civilized place.
Withless sensational, misinformed, and polarized content on Feed, it can also givepositive impact for brands. Billy Boulia, DigitasLBi vice president and groupdirector of social strategy, said to Adweek that for now, the changes will notimpact the ad algorithm. In addition, Blaise Grimes-Viorrt, The Social Elementchief services officer advised for brands to put less content but focusing onmeaningful content to highlight key brand messages. By getting to know moreabout the brand’s community, the contents produced should be able to sparkone-to-many discussions, the content that will be favoured by Facebook’salgorithm.