How Facebook's News Feed Changes Will Hurt Twitter

Yesterday, Facebook
announced major changes to its News Feedto show more news articles and high-quality content and fewer LOLCats, meme photos, and boring status updates (Business Insider’s Jillian D’Onfro wrote about them in detail

The changes are huge news for large online publishers, whose content will now claim a larger share of the coveted News Feed slots and gain increased exposure with Facebook’s more than 1 billion users.

But as Digiday’s Brian Morrisey points out, the changes will also help Facebook encroach on Twitter’s territory as the destination social network for real-time news and quality content.

Through its heavy traffic during big-time national news stories like the Osama bin Laden killing, as well as the media industry’s general love affair with the service, Twitter has earned a reputation as a place people can go to find news as it breaks and generally get the temperature of what’s going on in their particular areas of interest.

Twitter has also invested heavily in its news products in recent months by hiring NBC digital news chief Vivian Schiller to manage its relationships with news outlets and by testing a service to send direct message news updates to users who want them.

But now, Facebook is making changes to improve its user experience for news lovers and grab a bigger slice of publisher advertising dollars. It’s doing this by showing that it has the power to send publishers traffic numbers that make Twitter pale in comparison.

Already, Facebook has bragged that changes it’s made over the past year have nearly tripled the traffic it’s referring to online media outlets. And news sources that have optimised their content for Facebook sharing, like Upworthy and Buzzfeed, are climbing the list of most-trafficked websites.

Though Twitter’s public forum gives it greater functionality for news organisations, there’s simply no arguing with the size of Facebook, whose monthly active user base is currently five times larger than Twitter’s.

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