News algorithm draws ire from advertisers

Originally Published: March 27, 2019 Last Updated: March 27, 2019

After facing scrutiny about the role fake news and divisive content on Facebook played in the 2016 election, Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and families, while decreasing content from brands and publishers. That move drew ire from organizations with revenue models built around Facebook. Some news organizations would go on to experience more than 80% drops in referral traffic from Facebook.

  • Facebook introduced major changes to its news feed that will prioritise content it hopes will spark meaningful conversations between friends while deprioritising content from businesses, brands, and media.
  • The changes come in the aftermath of a 2016 US election season that highlighted Facebook's problems with fake news and divisive content.
  • There are more than 1.5 million nonprofits on Facebook, and many of them have built presences there at the platform’s encouragement.
  • Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said, "I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions."
  • And by 2017, some antitrust thinkers concerned with its centrality to the news business were calling for Facebook to be regulated as a monopoly.