Here's what Facebook News Feed overhaul could mean to users, business

The net worth of Facebook CEO reportedly went down by 4.4 percent

The net worth of Facebook CEO reportedly went down by 4.4 percent

As the company tries to return to its friends-and-family roots, news outlets like BuzzFeed, CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times will be watching closely.

The changes won't affect how often you see advertisements, or as Facebook calls them, "sponsored posts". Every user sees a different set of content and ads, ranked and tailored based on their characteristics, what they click and what their friends do. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

But other researchers believe how people react to Facebook depends on their personality.

News, brand and video content has "exploded" in recent years, "crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other", said Zuckerberg.

So what does this mean for what you'll see when you scroll through your news feed in the future?

Raju Narisetti, the chief executive of the Gizmodo Media Group, the unit of Univision that operates Jezebel and other sites, said that he was expecting the changes any day but that he had not heard from Facebook about what it could mean for publishers. Facebook says its research shows that users are exposed to more divergent views on its platform than they would be otherwise, but that's hard to verify independently since the company is cautious about providing data to outsiders.

The idea is to help users to connect with people they care about, not make them feel depressed and isolated.

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The Menlo Park, California-based company has kept revenue growing by consistently selling more advertising in its news feed, striking partnerships with media companies to distribute their stories, and including more video postings, which draw higher ad rates. "It reads as something that will drive up engagement and probably push away policy risk, because they're not allowing news properties to have the same sort of presence in their feeds".

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed stock graph in this illustration taken November 3, 2016. In this charged atmosphere, agents working for a Kremlin-linked company, the Internet Research Agency, disseminated content that reached an estimated 126 million users in the United States in 2016, Facebook revealed to Congress during hearings on the matter past year.

Zuckerberg initially scoffed at the suggestion Facebook had been used as a Russian propaganda tool, before acknowledging that mistakes had been made and promising to do better in 2018. But Kint said he had hoped that the social media giant would find another way to weed out hoaxes and made-up news stories without penalizing all publishers.

"It's in the same direction that Facebook has been pursuing for a while: offering a place for discussion among individuals, a community space, rather than being a news source", said Oh Se-uk, a senior researcher on digital news at the Korea Press Foundation.

One other reason why Facebook may be updating the News Feed to include more posts from family and friends rather than news is to combat the explosion of fake news, a problem that first came to light after the 2016 United States presidential election. How does Facebook decide what's clickbait? His vow followed a year that saw Facebook come under sharp criticism for contributing to a climate of extreme political polarisation, the distribution of fake news and escalating privacy concerns.

Is this the end for brands and publishers on Facebook?

Are people really going to spend less time on Facebook?

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