Facebook’s new algorithm to prioritize friends and families

By : |July 2, 2016 0

Facebook has announced that the platform will limit the posts in News Feeds from other Facebook pages and instead prioritize posts from users’ families and friends and the news is nothing less than a shocker for the media industry.

The announcement reads: “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.”
Facebook’s decision to reduce the reach and referral traffic of posts from the Facebook pages of businesses and media companies however has caused much concern for media companies which rely on platforms like Facebook and Twitter for substantial portions of their web traffic. As Parsley reports, Facebook accounts for 41.4% of referral traffic to news sites. And according to the Reuters Institute 2016 Digital News Report, 51% of those surveyed reported using social media as a source of news each week, with 28% of 18-24 year-olds citing it as their main source of news.
But it’s important to note that not all posts from businesses and media organizations will be less likely to show up in News Feeds. As the announcement explains, news posts shared by your friends will still show up at the top of your feed.
“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.”

According to Forbes, “the change in Facebook’s algorithm isn’t going to have a very drastic impact on our traffic because the majority of our Facebook traffic comes from other people posting and sharing and our stories. The amount of traffic we get via posts from our own Facebook page is much smaller in comparison.”
Facebook’s new algorithm might also indicate that the company is afraid of becoming an impersonal RSS feed of news. It feels threatened by platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, which have successfully managed to get users to share more and more of their own videos and photos.

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Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom said in a press note that the change to its News Feed comes because “people are still worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about.” And maybe updates and photos from friends and family should be what Facebook is all about.

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