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Facebook users say they’re seeing changes in their news feeds

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark

Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • Facebook users contacted by Business Insider on
    Saturday said the posts they were seeing in their news feeds
    were mostly from friends or family members; they saw relatively
    few posts from organizations or people they follow.
  • Some said the ratio of posts from Facebook friends to
    those from organizations they follow was a big change from
    their past experience; others didn’t notice much of a
  • The observations follow the company’s announcement
    Thursday that it plans to make sweeping revisions to its site,
    including de-emphasizing in the news feeds posts from news and
    other organizations that users follow.

The next time you check Facebook, you may only see a few articles
from news publications or posts from other organizations you
follow — if you see any at all.

Facebook users contacted on Saturday said their news feeds — the
list of posts you see right when you log into the Facebook
webpage or load the social networking app — were dominated by
posts from friends and family members. Users reported seeing few
posts from organizations or people they follow that weren’t
shared also by their friends. And some users — including this
reporter and his wife — reported seeing none at all.

Kelly Snider, a San Jose resident, said she saw only a few
sponsored posts and only a couple of posts from organizations she

“The majority, way more than I ever saw before, is from friends,”
Snider said. “It is overwhelmingly friends, and that is unusual
to my eyes.”

Of the first 50 posts in Colin Stokes’ news feed, just 10 were
from organizations or people he follows.

“I was surprised that the numbers were this skewed,” Stokes said.
“I expected more balance.”

Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to an
emailed request for comment.

Facebook has said big changes are coming to its news feed

Company executives Thursday
announced sweeping changes
to its service and particularly to
the way the news feed feature works. Addressing criticism that
its social network was yielding a
negative effect on users’ well-being
and being manipulated
by organizations spreading propaganda
or trying to
illegitimately attract visitors to their sites, Facebook said it
would give priority in its news feed to posts from users’ friends
and family members and play down those from organizations and
people they follow. The company did not say how soon it would put
the changes in place.

The changes
threaten to upend both news organizations
and the way in
which many users get news and information. Some 45% of US adults
get news from Facebook,
according to a Pew Research poll in September
, and many news
organization have come to depend on the traffic they get from the
social networking — much of it generated from users clicking on
stories they see in their news feeds.

Users’ observations about their own news feed may not necessarily
show that Facebook has put the changes in place. The company
customizes each user’s feed based in part on posts they’ve
interacted with in the past. If users see in their news feeds few
posts from organizations they follow, it could simply mean
they’ve seldom clicked or commented on such posts in the past.

Some users who spoke to Business Insider said that while they
were seeing relatively few posts from organizations they follow
in their news feed, they didn’t think they were seeing much less
than they’d seen before.

Gretchen Lembach, for example, said she only saw one post from a
news outlet she follows in her news feed — and that one was also
shared by one of her friends. But that didn’t seem unusual, said
the Montclair, New Jersey, mom.

“I’d say it feels about the same,” Lembach said.

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