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Facebook is overhauling the algorithm for the social media site’s news feed in order to make posts from the friends and family of users more prominent compared to the content from brands and businesses.
The shares of the company dropped by more than four percent to $180.18 at the US market open.
Last night, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of the social media giant announced the said change, saying that the focus of the company for 2018 was ensuring that the time that users spend on Facebook was going to be “time well spent.”
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg wrote: “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.”
Zuckerberg acknowledged that the change could mean that people spend less time on Facebook. However, he said that it would be better for users and businesses during the long term.
The said changes follow criticism that the algorithms of Facebook and other social media companies could be prioritising fake news and keeping its users within “bubbles” with like-minded people.
At the start of the year, Zuckerberg stated that he would protect Facebook from becoming a forum for inappropriate government influence and fake news.
Zuckerberg also cited research that said that social media could be “good for our well-being” when utilised to connect with people. However, the research also said that “passively reading articles or watching videos – even if they’re entertaining or informative – may not be as good.”
“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being,” said the Facebook CEO.
The said changes to the news feed are scheduled to take effect in the coming weeks, and some similar changes will also be made to other products in the months ahead, said Zuckerberg.