During his first-ever public Q&A on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained his vision for News Feed, the page where every Facebook user gets to see a constant stream of “stories.”
“Our goal is to build the perfect personalised newspaper for every person in the world,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re trying to personalise it and show you the stuff that’s going to be most interesting to you.”
He said each user gets exposed to more than 1,500 stories each day, but an average user would only get to see about 100 a day on News Feed. In order to maximise that experience, Zuckerberg is working with a team of engineers to learn user behaviour and pick up signals that show what kind of content each user is most interested in.
“That means that if businesses are sharing content that may be useful to them (Facebook users), then we’ll show that. But if that means that businesses are sharing content that isn’t going to be useful for them, we may not show that, because it’s probably more important that they learn about a friend who had a baby and their baby is healthy,” he said.
He also gave some advice to businesses that are trying to reach a larger audience through their Facebook pages. “If you’re a business owner thinking about how to use your free page on Facebook, I would just focus on trying to publish really good content that’s going to be compelling to your customers and the people that are following you.”
This is an important point for many companies, especially those in the news business. Nearly 30% of adults in the US get their news on Facebook, while up to 20% of news site traffic comes from Facebook, according to a recent New York Times article. Facebook has a whole team dedicated to building the perfect algorithm that could predict and feed the type of content users might want to see on their News Feed, whether it’s an actual news article or a photo of a friend.
But Zuckerberg stressed that at the end of the day, it will all come down to the quality of the content.
“There’s more competition for what they (users) see, so only the highest-quality content is actually going to get through and get shown to those people,” Zuckerberg said.