Facebook has announced a new change that’s set to strip public content – like posts from businesses, brands and media outlets – from your News Feed, replacing it with material shared by family and friends.
Sound a bit like the old Facebook?
The change was brought about in response to feedback from Facebook’s users, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. People want to see more of what matters to them and less of what corporate brands are using their pages to promote, he added, saying that Facebook will now focus on showing you “meaningful” posts.
That’s not to mean Facebook won’t run paid advertising campaigns, however – because it will. The refreshed News Feed will only do away with standard public content, allowing sponsored posts to seep into your timeline just like before.
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“By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” said Zuckerberg in a statement issued on Friday. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”
Facebook’s decision to clean up the News Feed couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s been under heavy fire since the 2016 presidential election for its alleged role in facilitating the spread of fake news, which many say was promoted by Russian propaganda organisations.
So, to recap: the updated News Feed is intended to throttle the circulation of inaccurate reports and irrelevant public content, but also to reinstate the sense of personal connection that caused Facebook to rocket in popularity when it debuted back in 2004.
How it works in practice is another matter entirely.
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