By prioritizing content that sparks conversations, Facebook could risk promoting more polarizing and opinionated posts that generate lots of comments, only adding to the filter bubble. Ziegler was hoping McNamee, as an experienced investor and disinterested party, could advise a young Mark Zuckerberg about whether to sell Facebook or not. “Facebook has always been criticized for creating “filter bubbles”, the echo chambers of friends and like-minded people whose views are reinforced by their friends’ posts on the platform”, he writes even as the company says that’s similar to how people make friends and interact with each other offline.
“In Facebook’s case, “dead”, mercifully, would mean a user who quits the site cold turkey, and sets themselves free of social media”. In making this new turn, Facebook seems to be ignoring the reality of having become the default source of news for many, the world over. And while that may have helped it grow as a business and become the most powerful social network, with more than 2 billion monthly active users, it also meant the company strayed away from its roots.
However, he added: “The biggest victor out of this are users wishing to connect with friends and family”.
And Facebook recently announced that it would tweak its news feed algorithm to prioritise posts from friends rather than content from businesses and media companies. The company also took a number of steps to eliminate graphic or violent content on the site following several incidents, including the live-streamed murder of a young girl in Thailand. According to Zuckerbergs post, the company has done research that shows that connecting with each other strengthens our relationships, improving our well-being and happiness, but reading articles and watching videos may not be as good.
In typical Zuckerberg fashion, the Facebook founder was careful to point out that despite the headlines highlighting the dangers of using social media, spending more time on his platform can actually be good for users.
“We think that we’re now slightly overvaluing how much time people spend on our platform and undervaluing how many meaningful interactions they have with other people”, said Mosseri, who oversees News Feed.
Facebook’s stated objective of its recalibration is to bring people together.
De-emphasizing news could also allow Facebook to withdraw from the controversies that saddled the company the past year – which included widespread criticism that the company did not do enough to mitigate hoaxes, propaganda and content planted by Russian operatives aimed at dividing the American public.
Of the first 50 posts in Colin Stokes’ news feed, just 10 were from organisations or people he follows.
In The Washington Post, McNamee argued that Facebook was “tailor-made for abuse by bad actors” and that users should expect more fake news and manipulation of elections. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events.
Mark Zuckerberg has been left several billion dollars poorer after announcing major changes to the way Facebook works.
Got that, Facebook users?
The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
That’s the question people are asking after the social network’s announcement.