A Facebook update will give users’ personal posts priority over news and brand content in the site’s News Feed, the social network has announced.
The move means the pages of news platforms, brands and public figures will experience decreases in traffic on their posts, as user content will be prioritised.
This is in response to polls carried out by Facebook that indicated users were concerned they were missing important updates from family and friends due to page posts on their News Feeds.
It is anticipated that digital publishers such as BuzzFeed, which creates content designed for sharing, will not experience significant decreases in traffic.
However, other pages, such as traditional news sources, may be more significantly affected.
44 per cent of those polled in a recent survey by the Reuters Institute said they had accessed news via Facebook in the last week, more than double the 19 per cent who had accessed news on YouTube or 10 per cent through Twitter in April 2016.
But the survey said most internet users do not turn primarily to social media to access news.
Furthermore, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, only 18 per cent of US adults “often” get news updates from social media.
These statistics suggest that news outlets that share content through Facebook are likely to see a decrease in traffic, as most users do not seek out news updates through the social media platform.
Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president for newsfeed product management, said: “Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages.
“For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts.
“We encourage pages to post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.”
These updates come after other recent changes to news feed content which has benefitted digital publishers. Two months ago, adaptations were made which saw content people spent more time reading receive an increase in ranking on News Feeds.
This was welcomed by publishers that felt more in-depth content would receive greater recognition than it would have done previously due to less reliance on shares and likes.