Facebook recently announced that it will now be prioritizing posts from user’s families and friends on News Feeds and less on posts from other Facebook pages. This new development from Facebook came as a surprise to the media industry. This stays true to Facebook’s building blocks on staying connected with the people, places and things that are important to the users, beginning with friends on Facebook.
This new update means that Facebook will be focusing more on showing the users photos and updates from their friends on Facebook instead of posts from other pages which essentially means that the amount of referral traffic of posts from other Facebook pages will be declining.
Businesses and media companies that have come to rely on social media platforms like Facebook for most of their web traffic are now worried about what this means for them. Facebook is known to amount for 41.1 per cent of referral traffic to news sites and has been a surveyed as being a source of news every week, some people even suggesting that social media has become the main source of news for them. Although it is important to know that not all posts from businesses and media organizations will decline on the News Feeds.
Facebook has explained that any news posts shared on the users News Feed by their friends will still show up on the top of their feed.
The amount of referral traffic posts from other Facebook page depends on various metrics that are dependent on the composition of the audience.
For example, if businesses and media organizations get majority of their referral traffic from people sharing the content of their Facebook pages with their friends liking and commenting on it, then the impact of this new change will be minimal compared to the ones that get majority of traffic directly through Page posts.
Since many media companies are quiet dependent on Facebook as their current digital advertising landscape, many publishers and businesses are going to try preventing or fighting this change from affecting them by paying Facebook a lot of money to help promote their sponsored content.
Facebook had been perceived as becoming a publisher with its trending news controversy and its promotion of live video and instant articles.
However with this announcement, Facebook has made its intentions clear that they have no interest in entering the news business. Facebook has certain core values that they will continue to infuse into the News Feed in order to make it more “subjective, personal, and unique.”
This change suggests that the social media platform is worried about becoming an impersonal RSS feed of news. It is also in direct competition with other platforms like Snapchat and Instagram that have been able to effectively get their users to share more of their own videos and photos.
Facebook intends to challenge Snapchat with its own promotion of live video so that they break into the video sharing market.
They also hope that with their new algorithm change to place more importance on posts by the user’s friends then companies will encourage more people to share.
Even if people still don’t start sharing more, every News Feed will seem like it is as posts from the people who do share will move to the top of the News Feeds of their friends.
Facebook is focusing not only on friends and family coming first on a user’s News Feed, but also on keeping the user informed and entertained.
The biggest effects of this change land on media companies as it signifies that Facebook does not place more importance on reputable sources that provide news and information over content that users would share. Facebook is also proclaiming that its relationship to news publishers does not have more significance and that it is not responsible for their financial well-being. They want to ensure that people use the site for longer periods of time and that all content is important.
This change can help shed some light on media companies so that they realise that Facebook and other social platforms are not going to be there for them or support the media industry as they did before.
Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom said that the main reason behind the change was because many of their users were worried about missing important updates from their friends. Facebook needs to be a platform all about the updates and photos of the user’s friends and family.
Facebook is vigorously trying to prevent users from leaving its platform and visiting other sites with its instant articles and live videos. With every algorithm change, Facebook is getting media companies and businesses “pay to play” but reducing the organic reach of their Facebook pages.
Despite Facebook not focusing on the news industry anymore, its success in capturing such a large share of the digital news market demonstrates that the company understands something about the way that people access and consume news that many publishers and brands are still unable to grasp
Smartphones are one of the most dominant places where people access their news from and it’s only going to grow in popularity. Due to smartphones, many people turn away from home pages and apps as they are more likely to view the news through the various social media platforms than on any news publisher’s website or app.
Facebook offers its users simplicity in terms of accessing news as they are able to access a variety of information from many sources, all under one app individual home pages, creating a one-stop shop for accessing information. However now Facebook wants to stray away from this solution it has created for accessing the news and focus more on the individuals sharing capacity on the platform.
Facebook has been successfully able to use its content to attract large audiences and produce billions of dollars of ad revenue and it is now moving away from the news industry. However the media companies need to find their own ways on how they can accomplish what Facebook was able to achieve for the media industry.
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