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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.

Those changes undercut publishers, businesses and celebrities who come to the giant social network to gain new audiences and revenue streams but have seen their ability to reach Facebook users continue to decrease.

He said the change should make everyone feel better: "The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being". And Zuckerberg said that this content should encourage "meaningful interactions" between people. He pointed to conversations around television shows or news as ones that can start worthwhile discussions. "But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience".

Doing that will require Facebook to "predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed".

These changes will probably not seem drastic to many users. Publishers anxious they would have to pay to have their posts end up in the News Feed, where most users would spend their time, and thus where there is more potential for ad-revenue-generating traffic.


Last week, Zuckerberg posted on Facebook about his goals for 2018, including "making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent" and adding that "this will be a serious year of self-improvement and I'm looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together".

The News Feed update comes after several months in which Facebook has drawn criticism for the influence it has over its users.

Last year, Facebook disclosed that Russian agents had used the network to spread inflammatory posts to polarize the American electorate. Many publishers shifted their digital strategies to stay in good favor with Facebook's algorithm, moving into live video when Facebook said it wanted more of that content and experimenting with Instant Articles when those fast-loading articles were introduced as a salve for slow webpages outside the social network. A long comment on a family member's photo, for instance, might be highlighted in the News Feed above a video with fewer comments or fewer interactions between people.

Instead, content that sparks conversations among family and friends who use the site will be emphasised, explained chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on his page.

It is also considering other changes to the news feed, some of which it could announce as early as Thursday.


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