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Facebook to emphasize friends, not news, in series of changes

By David Ingram and Paul Sandle  1-12-2018

SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Thursday began to change the way it filters posts and videos on its centerpiece News Feed, the start of what Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said would be a series of changes in the design of the world’s largest social network.

Zuckerberg, in a sweeping post on Facebook, said the company would change the filter for the News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands.

Facebook, which owns four of the world’s most popular smartphone apps including Instagram, has for years prioritized material that its complex computer algorithms think people will engage with through comments, “likes” or other ways of showing interest.

Zuckerberg, the company’s 33-year-old co-founder, said that would no longer be the goal.

“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 wrote.

The shift was likely to mean that the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement would go down in the short term, he wrote, but he added it would be better for users and for the business over the long term.

Facebook to emphasize friends, not news, in series of changes
Advertising on the social network would be unaffected by the changes, John Hegeman, a Facebook vice president, said in an interview.

Facebook and its social media competitors have been inundated by criticism that their products reinforce users’ views on social and political issues and lead to addictive viewing habits, raising questions about possible regulation and the businesses’ long-term viability.

The company has been criticized for algorithms that may have prioritized misleading news and misinformation in people’s feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election, as well as political discourse in many countries.

Last year, Facebook disclosed that Russian agents had used the network to spread inflammatory posts to polarize the American electorate.

Congress is expected to hold more hearings this month, questioning the role social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube play in spreading propaganda.

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  1. Just Say “No”!

    Go and go back a little bit through his archives, and you will find alternatives to facebook, and most all social media. I don’t “do” facebook, etc because I knew/know just as I did when “smartphones” came out that they would be used by our unAmerican “intelligence” agencies, if not created by them with OUR tax dollars and no LAWFUL authority to do so.

    I do not do facebook, smartphones, fly until the unlawful and terrorist TSA is removed, etc. MY COUNTRY, MY LEGITIMATE government is worth the little extra planning I need to do to travel, not be available 24/7 (which was propagandized into your minds as needed), etc. I made my choice, I chose America the constitutional republic. What is/was your choice?
    /big grin

    1. Exactly. No Facebook, twitter, etc. And now we read about the Intel processor security issue. I say they did it intentionally so our rogue agency deep state shadow government could easily and simply gather intel (pun intended) on We the People.

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