Recent changes spark debate about Facebook’s future

Soon, Facebook users will only be seeing the content they prefer to see thanks to a recent change Facebook made to its algorithms.

On Jan. 11, 2018, Facebook made a massive change to the News Feed that will alter the user experience. The change means that in the coming weeks, users’ Facebook feeds will focus more on showing them content that suits their own interests instead of news articles and viral videos that randomly pop up.

Facebook users will now be able to see what they want to see based on their preferences. Screenshot by Justin Barnes.

According to an article from the New York Times, the updates are meant to put less emphasis on posts that have harmed or upset users in the past and focus more on making users’ feel happy when they use Facebook as well as connecting them more with their friends and family.

“We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbug said in an interview with the Times.

Zuckerberg also mentioned that this year, Facebook would be dedicating itself to greatly improving the website and making sure that a user’s time on Facebook is not wasted.

This update has also raised question regarding how it will affect users in the long run. For instance, if people end up seeing posts that strengthen their views, it could increase the chances of fake news spreading which would lead to users being misinformed about what really happened.

Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of a user’s time on Facebook when the social media giant made their update. Screenshot by Justin Barnes

Sophomore biology major Maria Ratliff agreed with the fact that the new update has the potential to strengthen her connection with her friends and family but she disliked the update saying that this is not a big step in improving Facebook.

“Enforcing ideologies may be a bad thing because then you do not see everyone’s point of view about a controversial topic,” Ratliff said. “Then you may become an extremist as the other views are being ignored.”

Junior business major Matt Keelan had a different take on the new update. Keelan saw it as just another update that would just be something users would eventually get used to. In addition, he felt that it would not exactly strengthen connections with users’ friends and family.

“I think it’s more of seeing less viral content than it is seeing more family and friends’ interactions,” Keelan said.

Some other potential repercussions include small businesses, non-profit organizations and other groups getting hurt because it would be harder for them to reach out to potential followers. Social media professor Margaret Rakus explained that normally, businesses put their ads on Facebook through bidding instead of just paying to be guaranteed a spot.

“Businesses will still be able to bid for a spot to place their ads but probably, it’ll cost you more to get the same kind of reach you got before,” Rakus said.

While this new update has raised questions about it’s impact on Facebook and its’ users, it appears that the best course of action right now is to wait and see how things unfold.

“People are sort of hysterical about it,” Rakus said. “They probably should just dial it back a little bit and watch it.”

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