The social media giant is hearing what its users want more and less of which means high quality content may trump memes in the future.
Can I get an AMEN?!
An update in Facebook’s Newsroom tells us
Why are we doing this? Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.
Another change is the resurfacing of news stories that have been commented on.
While trying to show more articles people want to read, we also don’t want people to miss the conversations among their friends. So we’re updating bumping to highlight stories with new comments. After people read a story, they are unlikely to go back and find that story again to see what their friends were saying about it, and it wouldn’t bump up in News Feed. With this update stories will occasionally resurface that have new comments from friends.
As a result, people may start seeing a few more stories returning to their feed with new comments highlighted. Our testing has shown that doing this in moderation for just a small number of stories can lead to more conversations between people and their friends on all types of content.
Personally I welcome these changes as the apparent competition to ‘out-meme’ the more competitive members of some Facebook users’ circles can clutter a news feed with mindless junk. If Facebook wants to avoid becoming a second generation MySpace, making this kind of move is important.
It also shows that maybe the company is realizing that its slipping market share amongst the younger set is a result of the fact that the format fits older users better. While that sounds tragically unhip it isn’t the worst thing for Facebook. Advertisers like reaching people with the resources to buy things. That’s what happens when you get older (which makes being ‘older’ sound pretty cool now, doesn’t it?).
What do you think about this effort by Facebook to make the news feed something of greater relevance vs. a chance for your friends to try to be the funniest of the funny people on Facebook?