It is a well-known fact that people’s attitude to life changes after they become parents. With the caring and nurturing nature, a parent develops very quickly, priorities shift, and what was once considered thrilling and exciting could become dangerous. So too with the future of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s kids, Maximina and August. Zuckerberg told media that his way of running Facebook changed after the birth of his two daughters, Maxima and August. He stated that he had rethought his viewpoint and Facebook’s legacy. He said, “It’s important to me that when Max and August grow up that they feel like what their father built was good for the world.”
This is the founding thought behind the latest changes reported by Facebook in regard to how it will manage content. Zuckerberg posted his latest goals for Facebook in 2018 last week, which includes “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.” He realizes that any change will bring about anxiety, and it will affect many industries, which is a direct attack on these third-party incomes. However, Facebook is not about supporting the incomes of others, and this 2018 “will be a serious year of self-improvement and I’m looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together.” according to Zuckerberg.
The changes in place come from two different causes. One is the complaint about the fake news; the second is about social interaction. Facebook was criticized heavily during 2016 and 2017 for being a sounding board for lies and deceit, as well as actively promoting commercial use of the site while ditching the social interaction that the site was initially designed for.
Zuckerberg met these statements by saying “Just because a tool can be used for good and bad, that doesn’t make the tool bad — it just means you need to understand what the negative is so that you can mitigate it.”
The main changes that Facebook will integrate into their site include the transfer of passive content to a news section and increase the focus on social interaction, or news that generates discussion. This means that Facebook will prioritize personal posts, and transfer commercial news sources. The effect on commercial new sites will be harsh, at least at first. Currently, commercial news sources use Facebook to reach around 45% of their readers. With this change, many readers will either have to adapt to find the news in the sections that Facebook will transfer them to, or find news sources that are posted in actual news sites. Zuckerberg wants Facebook users to generate more dialog and discussion between family members, friends, and associates through their pages, making the use of the site an ongoing affair rather than a passive reading site.
Another serious change and an important one is how Facebook will eliminate ClickBait, as well as low-quality publishers, thus removing salacious content. This is a step in the way Facebook will combat fake news sources. Many “bloggers” like to support their sites with a Facebook page, and many popup publishers use Facebook for specific purposes and focused campaigns, making Facebook a tool in the hands of “perception traders,” people that want to change the way others think with false news. It is also a way to combat e-bullying, where certain content will be challenged immediately. Something that was not done before, and is part of a global initiative.
By transferring the shift from “everything” to family and personal interactions. By taking an active stance on filtering content (censorship), and by mitigating a separation between the family and business, by pushing commercial and business media to another platform, Facebook aims to restructure the entire psychology of how it interfaces with its users and advertisers.
The effects will be felt immediately, and many Facebook reliant publishers will feel the difference in their traffic. However, it will transfer the business model from passively posting posts to actively advertising so that people will click over to read a post. This is another way that Facebook will generate greater income, and once it has been understood by everyone, will change how marketing campaigns will utilize Facebook as a source of advertising.
A direct excerpt from Mark Zuckerberg’s page on Facebook, that was posted yesterday:
One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.
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.
It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.
We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.
The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people, we care about, it can be good for our well-being. 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 help you have more meaningful social interactions.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. 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.
Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.