Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook’s News Feed is Now All About Local News in Latest “Pivot to Video” Media Move

Photo by Brian Solis/Flickr

Facebook is once again shifting its course, with Mark Zuckerberg announcing that the social network will heighten its focus on local news.

The latest direction arrives hot on the heels of a major rethink of the news feed of Facebook- the main page which greets the 2bn plus users of Facebook and through which the users engage.

“Our next update on our 2018 focus to make sure Facebook isn’t just fun but also good for your well-being and for society…,” Zuckerberg said.

“People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook. Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”

Previously, Facebook had said that it would essentially demote business and media from news feeds and promote updates from friends and family. It is also asking users what they consider to be “trustworthy” sources of news.

It arrives as Facebook experiences increasing scrutiny over its power and the influence of fake news and the disinformation through the social media platform.

Yesterday, the strategy chief of advertising agency Publicis Groupe likened Zuckerberg to the villain in Harry Potter, Voldemort.

“So many places and times I heard Mark Zuckerberg being mentioned not in name but as some dark force like Voldemort in Harry Potter,” stated Rishad Tobaccowala during a round up of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos which took place last week.

Previously, Facebook has placed a major focus on video, prompting top media publications to change resources to the format. Media businesses are seeking for ways in order to monetise audiences online, particularly those who are traditionally from print where revenues are declining, largely because of the rise of Facebook and some other tech giants. The share of Facebook of the digital advertising market in the United Kingdom, along with Google is anticipated to increase to 55 percent in the United Kingdom this year.

However, a video is more costly to produce compared to written content, and the results of such a change have yet to become apparent. The phrase “pivot to video” has also increasingly become a shorthand for organisations who are cutting back on resources and is an example of a flash in the pan trend on which some struggling publishers have jumped in to in the hopes it can pacify losses.

This week, Google also unveiled Bulletin, a local news initiative. Initially, the app will be piloted in the United States. It will focus on crowd-sourced local events and stories.