Upcoming Changes in Your Feed
January 23, 2018

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New in Digital is a blog series dedicated to highlighting digital news from across the web and explaining what those developments mean for organizations in the public affairs environment.

In the upcoming weeks, you might notice a difference on your social news feeds. If you’re feeling fatigued from all the politics in your newsfeed, Facebook wants to help. But will businesses take the hint?

Facebook phone
66% of consumers want brands to take social and political position

Even though organizations often try to steer clear of the polarizing world of politics, consumers might not agree.

In a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, 66% said they wanted to see brands and companies taking stronger stances on social issues. The study found that individuals are more receptive to political messaging from organizations on social media.

That’s a difficult balance for some organizations to strike. Wherever you stand on an issue, when a brand becomes political, it risks losing at least part of its base. Some organizations tiptoe along this line by stopping short of advocacy and instead getting involved by announcing a donation in a time of crisis or subtly stating a company’s official position on an issue without fanfare.

Facebook plans to transform the News Feed

Despite the recent findings about consumers wanting stronger political stances from consumer product companies, Facebook is heading in a different direction. How many times have you logged onto Facebook expecting to see your friends’ baby photos but instead you only see updates from nonprofits and companies? Well, Facebook is trying to change that. The company wants to foster more “meaningful posts” and interactions among its user base. To do so, they’re adjusting the algorithm so you see less content from brands you’ve followed and more from your actual friends. (Paid content won’t be affected.)  

The update will prioritize posts that inspire conversations and interactions between people. The prioritization will be around content from friends and family, and Facebook hopes it will make its users more comfortable on the site.

But what does this mean for organizations and businesses who use Facebook Pages? Facebook says the impact will vary, but since conversation-starting content will be more favored in the new algorithm, brands would benefit from making sure everything they put on the site provides a meaningful opportunity for people to engage and hopefully bring their friends into the discussion..

Social media is at a bit of an impasse. The audience says it wants one thing, while the gatekeepers are thinking another way. Many users and the organizations that speak to their audiences with these platforms are caught in the middle With these proposed changes, it’ll be interesting to see how different the newsfeed looks — and how much users are interacting with content — in the months ahead.

Stay tuned for more New in Digital posts.