There is a new term in the Facebook scheme of things; meaningful. And the social media giant is re-aligning its entire news feed algorithm along that to ensure time spent by users on the social site turns to be meaningful indeed.
Elaborating further, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they hope to introduce the meaningful bit to the news feed by giving more prominence to feeds from family and friends instead of those from businesses and publishers that have gone viral. There is a likewise shift in the very core ethos that Facebook has based its entire working principle on, that of ensuring users spend more time on the site.
Instead, the news feed will henceforth be tuned to show more posts from friends and family even if that comes at the cost of other popular or viral stuff. Further, posts that have received the more comments will preside over those that have got more likes. Similarly, larger comments will be given prominence over those where comments might be simple one-liners.
Facebook said they are making the change after coming in for severe criticism over its current working model that is keen to see users spend the maximum time on the site. And the same is being materialized by populating the news feed with stuff that have the highest popularity. Of course, that made strong business sense as well as viral stuff brought in more ad revenue.
Also, while content from friends, family or other close associates are also shown but as per the changes proposed; those will have a higher chance of making it to the news feed. Facebook also justified the changes proposed to the news feed claiming people tend to feel better when they are in close company with those that really matter to them.
With Facebook being projected as the virtual meeting ground for people in the digital age, it also makes sense to ensure users get to see more of what such people are up to, places they are visiting, things they are reading or listening to or what all they have come across in a while. This also has a positive rub-off effect on others, sort of tempting them to get into the act.
All of this, Facebook said goes very well with what they had sought to achieve when they had started out initially, that of bringing people closer and building communities. It’s only that they have learned to add the term ‘meaningful’ to that, which interestingly could be an admission of sorts that they had done it wrong all this while, which they were driven by money and profits so far.
In any case, it is good to see the world’s biggest social networking site has begun to value human interactions above monetary gains.