On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced a big change to Facebook’s News Feed that will prioritize content that users share and that’s expected to have a negative impact on publisher content. Here’s the email Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, sent to a couple dozen publisher contacts on Friday morning explaining the changes.
Our team has been in touch with our contacts at your organization about the following, but I wanted to reach out to you directly. As you may know, we are making updates that refocus News Feed on what Facebook was originally all about: connecting people with friends and family. You are some of our closest Facebook Journalism Project partners, so I want to be clear: news remains a top priority for us, but we expect to see changes in how public posts perform in News Feed in the months ahead.
Mark’s post outlines the reason for these upcoming changes, and I urge all of you to read it. There are also more details on the News Feed FYI blog. Our News Feed team will attend the upcoming roundtables to go through these ranking changes in depth, however, please feel free to reach out before then with any questions.
What Is Changing?
Moving forward, we will prioritize posts in News Feed that spark conversations and inspire meaningful interactions. We will predict which posts people will want to interact with their friends about, and give these posts more weight in ranking. Interactions between people like comments, shares, and messages will be valued more than reactions and likes. Both people and pages can create content on Facebook that drives meaningful social interactions, such as conversations between people on articles and video, when friends talk about a shared article or when a friend shares an article in Messenger. Posts from friends will be weighted most heavily.
As with any News Feed ranking change, this is one of many signals that impact what people see in their News Feed and how content is distributed. Our existing Community Standards, Integrity efforts, and other ranking signals — like our focus on videos that people seek out or watch repeatedly — will continue to evolve and be important signals in News Feed.
What This Update Means for Media Publishers
Because posts from friends will be weighted most heavily, this update means that people are likely to see less content that comes directly from publishers, brands and celebrities in their News Feed. News stories shared between friends will not be impacted. Still — some pages may see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease as the updates roll out over the next couple of months. Impact will vary from page to page, driven by factors including the type of content produced by the page and how people interact with this content on Facebook. Content from pages that drives interactions between friends will perform better than page content that drives only passive consumption without any person-to-person engagement.
What This Means for News
These changes suggest a growing emphasis on content that encourages community connection. We know that news starts meaningful conversations between people both online and offline. Our work through the Facebook Journalism Project will evolve to reflect this — collaborative product development work will continue to be a priority as we figure out what works best to encourage discussion around news.
We know even a small update to News Feed can be disruptive to your business, and this change will take some time to figure out. The News Partnerships team will be a resource for you throughout the coming months. My hope is that through our continued partnership, we will work through this together toward a shared goal of a more informed and connected public.