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Did Mark Zuckerberg Really Just Admit that Facebook is “Bad”?

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I am not shy to share my dislike of Facebook.  In principle, I like the idea of it bringing people together, but it’s changed over time.  It’s possible that Mark Zuckerberg read my posts because now he’s revealing some changes that will be coming to Facebook in 2018. What exactly are they planning?  Facebook intends to show you less news and videos and more posts from people that you actually interact with.  They are also going to show posts that will generate positive engagement.

But these changes kind of make it seem like Facebook is admitting the bad things that they’ve been doing to you all these years. In his announcement, he makes it clear that they’re missing the mark of what they had originally intended:

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness. But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

Is this an admission of guilt? Maybe, but at the same time making these kinds of changes is a good thing, right?  Specifically, Zuckerberg has identified the problem as being video and other content that has exploded on Facebook over the past couple of years.  But, Facebook has allowed this kind of content to be front and center, so they shouldn’t be surprised that it’s gone in this direction.

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I think the biggest reason that this is coming out now has a lot to do with what happened during the 2016 presidential election.  Facebook is kind of at the epicenter when it comes to fake news.  I don’t know if it’s Congress that is pushing these changes (indirectly), or if they just feel like they need to do something so that something like that doesn’t happen again.

Or is there another reason for this kind of change?

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. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

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The answer to that question?  By the sounds of it, it seems like Facebook is ready to get back to its roots.  To get back to the reason they started the platform, to begin with.  It also sounds like the research supports this. What’s also interesting is that Zuckerberg himself admits that some engagement will decrease.  Which, if we’re being honest, isn’t a great move for Facebook, but I’m happy to see these changes being made.  I’m also happy to see that Zuckerberg is admitting that the platform has changed and isn’t as positive as it once was.  Keep up the good work, Facebook. 

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