Facebook to prioritise 'meaningful interactions' over branded content

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says public content is crowding out "personal moments"

Facebook to prioritise 'meaningful interactions' over branded content

A portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration in 2017 | Image: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Social media giant Facebook is changing the way its news feed works.

It says this is to encourage "more meaningful social interactions" and reduce the amount of content from "businesses, brands and media".

In a post on the site, its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said branded content was "crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other".

The 33-year-old added that "video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years" meaning there was "more public content than posts from your friends and family".

That has shifted the balance "away from the most important thing Facebook can do - help us connect with each other".

Mr Zuckerberg said the company had examined academic research on social media. He said it showed that when sites such as Facebook were used to connect with "people we care about", they can improve well-being.

"We can feel more connected and less lonely," he said, "and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health."

In contrast, "passively reading articles or watching videos - even if they're entertaining or informative - may not be as good".

Branded content will not only be reduced - its content will be "held to the same standard" as posts from friends and family.

"It should encourage meaningful interactions between people," Mr Zuckerberg said.

Mr Zuckerberg said the shift in focus was likely to reduce "the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement", at least initially.

But he also expects that time to be more "valuable", saying he believes the changes to be "good for our community and our business over the long term".

A Facebook vice president, John Hegeman, said advertising on the site would be unaffected.

Facebook is the largest social media network in the world, with more than two billion monthly users.