Facebook is known to make changes in its news feed algorithm from time to time by prioritizing entertaining content to meaningful content to videos to live videos.
Publishers have been changing their content strategy at the trailing end of Facebook strategy. The latest change in the newsfeed algorithm is said to be a major one that could significantly impact publishers.
Facebook claims that, according to studies, people ‘passively’ consuming content on its platform is negatively affecting their mental well being.
Meaningful interaction with friends, families, and communities, is what Facebook feels, will promote their mental well being and make them happier and fulfilled. Facebook wants to ensure that its users spent ‘quality time’ on their platform.
“We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people,” Mark Zuckerberg said. “We need to refocus the system.”
Facebook is now refocusing on what it was originally built for - connecting family and friends - but with the focus on forming ‘meaningful connections’.
With the latest update, Comments and Shares of posts have become the most important factor to appear on top of the newsfeed. Longer and more personalized the comment, the chances of appearing on top becomes higher.
On the whole, it will promote anything that involves ‘interactions’ or ‘discussions’ among friends.
The newsfeed algorithm change is trying to reduce fake news circulating through Facebook. Facebook has been blamed for the Russians fiddling with its platform for spreading fake news during the last US presidential elections. With this algorithm change - Facebook is getting rid of the whole headache of dealing with the Fake news. Others see this change as a move to promote Facebook watch.
Facebook is one of the top sources for referral traffic for publishers. This change in algorithm is clearly a setback for the publishing media. Facebook is going to deprioritize content from publishers, brands, celebrities and from other Facebook pages. This may well put an end to referral traffic from Facebook pages.
Many publishers see it as an opportunity to reduce their dependence on Facebook and are clearly looking to diversify their social media platforms.
One of them remarked - “When they wanted videos, we gave it to them. Then they wanted live videos we did that. We are tired of making changes at their whims every time.”
Others see it as a sign to beef up their own internal tools -
“ Facebook is not a platform build for publishers; you cannot keep depending on them. You have complete control only on your platform. It’s high time to focus on making valuable content, building loyal reader base and subscriptions.”
On the other hand, some publishers are all set to adapt to the change. They are planning on optimizing content for promoting discussions.
Not all hope is lost. Facebook is still said to promote some ‘reputable publishers’ although there is no metrics on what qualifies a publisher as reputable. And community still remains a Facebook priority. Big time publishers are looking to promote their content through Facebook groups. Groups not only get you referral traffic but also help build a relationship with your readers.