Facebook Overhauls News Feed to Prioritize Friends and Family

In an attempt to bring Facebook back to its roots, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media network's News Feed will undergo a major overhaul this year.

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent," Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Thursday.

"We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

"But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other."

Zuckerberg said his company along with "leading experts at universities" studied the site in order to try and improve user experience.

"The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being," Zuckerberg said. "We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good.

"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."

As a result of these changes, a user's News Feed will put emphasis on posts from Facebook friends and family members over posts from news sites and specific group pages.

"As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media," Zuckerberg said. "And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

"For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience."

Zuckerberg said he expects a user's average time spent on Facebook to decrease as a result of these changes, but he believes that will be "good for the community."

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Facebook head of News Feed Adam Mosseri accompanied Zuckerberg's announcement with a blog post, warning public Facebook pages will see their reach, referral traffic and watch time decrease.

Zuckerberg said users can expect to see site updates be implemented over the next few months.