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Facebook tweaks News Feed to prioritize friends' posts

The change "may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages," the company warned.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on

Facebook announced Wednesday it is once again tweaking its News Feed rankings to prioritize posts from friends and family.

This may come as good news for the average user looking for family photos or other personal updates from their social network, but it could be bad news for companies relying on their Facebook Pages to draw in business.

"Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page's distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience," Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom wrote in a blog post. "For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts."

The social network made a similar adjustment to the News Feed in April 2015, but Backstrom said Facebook has heard from its community that people are "still worried about missing important updates" from the friends they care about.

More than 50 million small businesses have Facebook Pages, and COO Sheryl Sandberg has said Facebook's appeal with SMBs gives the social network a "core competitive advantage" over other internet companies competing with Facebook for ad dollars.

Earlier this year, Facebook made other adjustments to the News Feed, such as favoring articles that users spend a long time reading.

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