When news broke on Thursday evening of Facebook’s dramatic overhaul of its News Feed, the worlds of media and publishing erupted. But inside Facebook, the reaction was markedly different — indifference. “No one cares about feed changes,” a current Facebook employee told BuzzFeed News.
Though the changes have trimmed $25 billion from FB’s market cap and have likely given publishers night sweat–inducing anxiety, they don’t appear to be generating much discussion within Facebook’s rank and file. As of late Thursday evening, it hadn’t even really registered on the company’s internal Q&A board, which was preoccupied with other things, like questions hoping for a Facebook foray into cryptocurrency, and queries about exit interviews and AI chatbots.
But for most everyone else using the world’s largest social network to draw attention to their content, the change is potentially seismic. While Facebook is notorious for its endless piddling product tweaks, this one seems a substantive shift in strategic vision. It’s an unprecedented acknowledgment that Facebook’s core feature — News Feed — has not worked out at all the way it was intended. It was abused by peddlers of misinformation. It was used by foreign governments to attempt to interfere in elections. It made people feel bad.
The world’s largest social network wants to go back to an idealized safe space, free of hyperpartisan pages, misinformation, and fake news. Can it?