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Facebook redirects focus to social interaction, leaving businesses in the dust

In a post to Facebook Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was changing its focus from providing users with “relevant” content to that which drives social interaction.

The announcement is consistent with tests to the News Feed that Facebook ran last year, which moved all Page content (from the likes of businesses, brands, and media) from the News Feed to the Explore tab.

But these tests were met with criticism. Take, for instance, the Serbian editor of a non-profit investigative journalism organisation who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times decrying the change as detrimental to Serbia’s already shaky democracy.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has moved Facebook’s focus back to friends and family

For now, Page content will remain on the Feed — although businesses are going to have to work harder to keep their content relevant when competing for less space on the News Feed.

“As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease,” a press release read. So how to stay on top? “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

That may seem vague, but Facebook does offer up some slightly more solid examples. Live videos, the company says, often generate more organic interactions. Businesses can also benefit by “posting relevant updates and creating events”.

The change to the News Feed will likely be detrimental to businesses relying on the platform for revenue

Either way, it’s likely that most businesses using Facebook as a primary source of traffic and revenue will have to start looking at other means of engaging with users and bringing in the cash.

One tip? Don’t post “engagement bait” that goads users into interacting, as the company has promised to demote pages that do.

In his post, Zuckerberg acknowledges that Facebook may see a dip in “some measures of engagement”, but claims that making users’ time spent on the platform more valuable will benefit Facebook in the long run. As for other businesses? Guess you’re on your own.

Feature image: Facebook

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More

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