Facebook, the social media platform, will henceforth restrict the amount of public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — that the users are exposed to.
The restriction will significantly prevent publishers (particularly of startups) from using Facebook to redirect traffic to their websites, and will hand big readership advantage to established brands whose websites are directly visited by users.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, announced the new measure on his Facebook page on Friday.
He said public content had crowded users’ news feed and denied them the opportunity to stay connected with people.
Zuckerberg explained that since helping people stay connected is the core objective of the social network, Facebook would henceforth restrict public content that prop up on users’ news feed.
“We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products,” he said.
“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
He said the decision to reduce public content on news feed was taken following academic research and various researches that Facebook conducted with leading experts at universities.
“Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. 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.”
He said Facebook had also been getting feedback from the users that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
“It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.”
Zuckerberg said that by restricting the public content, users will maximise their experience on Facebook, pointing out that the changes could reduce the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement would also go down.
“But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable,” he said. “And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”
He reiterated that Facebook has always been about personal connections, saying: “By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”
Facebook, founded in 2004, is the largest social network with over two billion users globally.