Facebook is tweaking its algorithm to give friends and family more prominence on user feeds, a move that may hurt media outlets that rely on the network to draw readers.
The social media giant said in a statement that the goal of the “news feed,” which appears when users log in, “is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them” and that its update “helps you see more posts from your friends and family.
The side effect of those changes, the company said, is that content posted by publishers will show up less prominently in news feeds, resulting in less traffic to the hundreds of news media sites that have come to rely on Facebook.
The move continues the social networks shift towards pushing publishers and brands towards paid content, rather than relying on organic traffic via fan pages and status updates.
The changes will affect all types of content posted by publishers, including links, videos, live videos and photos.
Facebook said it expected a drop in reach and referral traffic for publishers whose audience comes primarily to content posted by the publisher’s official Facebook page.
One consequence is that creators will now need to think more about how to engage their audience beyond just having their posts read or watched.
Share and comments will have more influence than the number of “likes” an organisation has
Facebook plans to start making the changes as soon as this week.