Have you heard about the changes to Facebook’s newsfeed?
There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook’s changes to it’s new newsfeed feature over the past couple of days. If you haven’t heard anything about this then I’ll summarise it quickly. Since the 2016 US presidential race, Facebook have faced a lot of stick over the alleged ‘Fake News’ that gets distributed via its platform. Facebook has since been under a fair bit of attack globally for not doing more to curb the spread of such misinformation. Last week Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced measures to help better deal with this issue.
The main change that Facebook users are likely to see in their own ‘newsfeed’ is less stories from news agencies and brands, replaced instead by more status updates from friends and families. In a post from his own Facebook profile, last week, Zuckerberg said: “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
I’d love to know the metrics, values and variables that Facebook will use to determine what “meaningful social interactions” amount to. Surely these measurements will be very different across a network the size of Facebook… So far I haven’t noticed a huge change to my own newsfeed. By and large though I’d already been happy with it’s contents so maybe Facebook already knew this based on my activity to date. It will be very interesting to observe the global reaction to, and impact of, these changes over the coming months.
The biggest concerns that I’ve read about so far seem to be coming form those who have been heavily relying on the Facebook platform to earn a living from publishing on it. The publishers with these concerns shouldn’t be so worried though. If anything Facebook had offered them a stay of execution. For years now the volume of news or “content” being published online has massively increased with the result that quality has also hugely decreased in many instances. Concurrently revenue models have been shifting and it’s been more and more difficult for publishers to make money from their output. In recent years Facebook provided a great opportunity for a dying print industry to be revived by providing a platform that enabled them to dramatically widen their reach at relatively little to no extra cost.
If anything, the changes that Facebook are proposing shouldn’t negatively impact on publishers that produce quality output. Hopefully these changes will kill off a lot of the rubbish (i.e., spam in the form of fake news, giveaways etc.,) thus freeing up space for those who are producing quality output. If you’re a consumer hopefully you will start to see richer, more meaningful content appearing in your newsfeed. If you’re a publisher you may have to work a little harder to be found and heard but then, when you are discovered, you should experience better engagement and retention of audience because you’ll likely be adding greater value to them.
The real trick will be building better relationships with your audience to give them a reason to come back to visit you. Posting regular content that is useful to this audience will be all the more important. Giving that audience a reason to then share that content with their network will be all the more mission critical. Arguably the better brands and media outlets have been doing this for years. The success stories in 2018 and beyond will no doubt be from those that know how to listen and provide value to their audience.
This Facebook update does also serve as a timely reminder that one should be wary of placing too much reliance on a third party service or platform when looking to build or grow a business. The harsh reality is that there’s always a danger that any service you rely on today could be turned off tomorrow…
Have you noticed any changes to your Facebook newsfeed? Do you or your business rely heavily on the Facebook platform to earn a living? Are these changes something that you are concerned about? Let me know in the comments!