Remain calm! Facebook’s algorithm changes explained – January 16, 2018

Last Friday Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made statements about changes to the Facebook algorithm showing more posts from your friends and less from brands. This sent the Facebook stock into freefall. Many of our clients contacted us in a panic.

Remain calm. We did research over the weekend.

1) Facebook has been talking about this shift for a while. On July 1, 2016 Stephen Colbert joked about the exact same announcement in his Late Show monologue.

2) Yes, there was a drop in organic engagement last year but not significant enough for everyone to panic and we have found ways to increase organic engagement on Facebook.

3) FYI Facebook says the changes will not affect all the ads in your feed. Yay?

4) There are rumblings that social media is too powerful and needs to be regulated due to the ‘Russia ad buy scam’ during the US elections and other issues. This recent change to the newsfeed may be a defense against that. Facebook does NOT want to be regulated like power or water utilities. In 2010 Finland became the first country to make internet access a human right. These types of legal shifts could be worrying Facebook and other social media platforms.

5) The research paper Facebook references in its newsroom releases: “Hard Questions: Is spending time on social media bad for us?” The answer was ‘yes’ especially when people are passively consuming content. This may have something to do with the newsfeed change announcement as well. Facebook needs more people to engage with content on their platform rather than passively consuming content that could be fake.

6) Here is a good 10-minute news piece from MSNBC on how Facebook is being used in elections around the world. We don’t agree with all of the information in the piece but it has some very good insights into how FB is trying to combat fake news.

7) ICYMI – Here is the news release directly from Facebook about the news feed changes that Zuckerberg announced.

Overall, our Facebook strategy for client’s will not change. Create strong original content that people want to engage with and your brand will be fine. We will be monitoring this story over the weeks and months to come but we feel this is a positioning gambit to protect Facebook rather than a major shift in the algorithm.

We will send out our Social Media Chaos podcast this week with a deeper look into strategies we are employing to combat the Facebook shift.