Facebook shares slip after News Feed overhaul

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The co-founder of the world's largest social-media business saw his fortune fall $3.3 billion Friday after he posted plans to shift users' news feeds toward content from family and friends at the expense of material from media outlets and businesses. Zuckerberg already signaled this would happen late previous year, when he said the company's planned investments in preventing abuse would hurt profitability.

The CEO goes on to add that based on the feedback it received from its community, it seems that public content is "crowding" users' News Feeds, impeding them from connecting more with the people they care about.

In coming days, Facebook users will see fewer posts from publishers, businesses and celebs they follow.

The company says it will tweak what people see to make it more "meaningful".

He's come a long way since November 2016, when he dismissed the notion that fake news on Facebook could have influenced the USA presidential election as a "pretty insane idea".

The re-evaluated changes will allow the network to generate more "organic" posts which will allow the users to connect with the people they want to.

While the changes could hurt Facebook's business in the short term, happier users could make for better profits over the long term. That means cutting back on items that Facebook users tend to passively consume, including video.

Many news organizations, bloggers and businesses have grown reliant on Facebook to spread information - articles, videos, infomercials - to their followers without paying for ads. There will also be fewer videos, which Facebook considers "passive". In the past, Facebook has placed more emphasis on serving up posts that match your interests.

That's because even if people read such content on Facebook, they don't necessarily comment or interact with it in other ways.

For now, Facebook users see a lot of videos, news, and other content from public pages, brands, and businesses, but that's about to change soon. Tinkering with the news feed doesn't address the warped incentives created by the attention economy that has turned Facebook into a mega-corp.

But the changes may spell trouble for the ecosystem of companies that have come to rely on Facebook's platform as a way to reach potential customers and readers. "We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us", Zuckerberg posted on Facebook late on Thursday.

Facebook was widely criticized for its passivity amid the avalanche of false information that invaded the feed of US users during the presidential elections of 2016.

Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who Facebook hired previous year to serve as a media industry liaison, told a group of publishers on Facebook that the move will force companies to focus on posting content that will "inspire meaningful interactions".

"One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent".

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