Facebook is looking to address some of the issues that people complain about with the network, namely that the social network is making people feel worse about themselves and that the social giant is generally bad for people. Back in December, a former Facebook executive said that the social network was destroying our modern society, something that Facebook flatly denies.
Despite not feeling as if it is destroying society, Facebook is looking to ensure that the time people spend on the network in 2018 is "time well spent." Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg has made a post on the social network talking about one of the big focus areas for 2018.
Zuckerberg says that research shows that strengthening personal relationships improves well-being and happiness for all people. The rub is that feedback from Facebook users indicates that public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media is crowding out the personal moments that let Facebook users connect with each other on a personal level.
Zuckerberg wrote, "It's easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do -- help us connect with each other."
Facebook has looked at academic research and has performed its own research with experts from leading universities focusing on the issue of well-being with social media use. "The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health," wrote Zuckerberg.
However, passively reading articles and watching videos, no matter how entertaining or informative, may not be as good for people admits the executive. Because of that Facebook is making a change to how the social network is built. Moving forward the product teams will be focused on helping users of the social network find relevant content and helping the users have meaningful social interactions with people.
Zuckerberg admits it will take months for the new focus to make its way through all products. He wrote, "The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people."
Zuckerberg also admits that the changes Facebook is making will result in some measurements of engagement on the network going down. However, he thinks that the time spent on Facebook by users will be more valuable.
Zuckerberg wrote, "At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together -- whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world -- we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent."