Facebook is massively changing its News Feed, and it may mean people spend less time on it

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the company is making a "major change" to how the social network is built to make the site better for people's "well-being"
  • Facebook's product teams will now prioritize helping users have "more meaningful social interactions" versus finding "relevant content"
  • Facebook says that users will see less public content from businesses or publishers and more posts from their friends

Facebook is making a major change to its product to make sure that people feel like their time on the social network is "well spent," the company announced Thursday evening.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform's News Feed will start prioritizing "meaningful social interactions" versus "relevant content," and that he expects the time people spend on the social network will go down as a result.

"But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable," he wrote. "And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too."

Although Zuckerberg said the changes will take time to roll out, users will start noticing they see fewer posts from publishers and businesses and more content from their friends and family. Meanwhile, Facebook warns Pages that they will see their reach, referral traffic, and video watch time decrease.

Facebook's own major video initiative, "Watch," likely won't suffer though. A source briefed on the changes told Digiday that while Facebook will likely show fewer videos from publishers, it would would still be prioritizing its own scripted shows.

Although the company has made similar announcements in the past about tweaks to the News Feed, Zuckerberg described this change as a meaningful shift in the way the company runs.

It's been a year of reckoning for the CEO: The company faced intense scrutiny for hosting fake news, harboring harassment, and having a negative effect on the mental health of users. He has said his resolution this year was to fix Facebook, and it looks like he sees this as a step in that direction.

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