- Facebook users contacted by Business Insider on Saturday said the posts they were seeing in their news feeds were mostly from friends or family members; they saw relatively few posts from organisations or people they follow.
- Some said the ratio of posts from Facebook friends to those from organisations they follow was a big change from their past experience; others didn’t notice much of a change.
- The observations follow the company’s announcement Thursday that it plans to make sweeping revisions to its site, including de-emphasising in the news feeds posts from news and other organisations that users follow.
The next time you check Facebook, you may only see a few articles from news publications or posts from other organisations you follow – if you see any at all.
Facebook users contacted on Saturday said their news feeds – the list of posts you see right when you log into the Facebook webpage or load the social networking app – were dominated by posts from friends and family members. Users reported seeing few posts from organisations or people they follow that weren’t shared also by their friends. And some users – including this reporter and his wife – reported seeing none at all.
Kelly Snider, a San Jose resident, said she saw only a few sponsored posts and only a couple of posts from organisations she follows.
“The majority, way more than I ever saw before, is from friends,” Snider said. “It is overwhelmingly friends, and that is unusual to my eyes.”
Of the first 50 posts in Colin Stokes’ news feed, just 10 were from organisations or people he follows.
“I was surprised that the numbers were this skewed,” Stokes said. “I expected more balance.”
Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Facebook has said big changes are coming to its news feed
Company executives Thursday announced sweeping changes to its service and particularly to the way the news feed feature works. Addressing criticism that its social network was yielding a negative effect on users’ well-being and being manipulated by organisations spreading propaganda or trying to illegitimately attract visitors to their sites, Facebook said it would give priority in its news feed to posts from users’ friends and family members and play down those from organisations and people they follow. The company did not say how soon it would put the changes in place.
The changes threaten to upend both news organisations and the way in which many users get news and information. Some 45% of US adults get news from Facebook, according to a Pew Research poll in September, and many news organisations have come to depend on the traffic they get from the social networking – much of it generated from users clicking on stories they see in their news feeds.
Users’ observations about their own news feed may not necessarily show that Facebook has put the changes in place. The company customises each user’s feed based in part on posts they have interacted with in the past. If users see in their news feeds few posts from organisations they follow, it could simply mean they have seldom clicked or commented on such posts in the past.
Some users who spoke to Business Insider said that while they were seeing relatively few posts from organisations they follow in their news feed, they didn’t think they were seeing much less than they’d seen before.
Gretchen Lembach, for example, said she only saw one post from a news outlet she follows in her news feed – and that one was also shared by one of her friends. But that didn’t seem unusual, said the Montclair, New Jersey, mum.
“I’d say it feels about the same,” Lembach said.
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