The brilliant minds at Facebook have been busy so far in 2018.
With an apparent desire to get back to their roots of connecting the world and building community, Mark Zuckerberg and Co. have rolled out three major changes so far this year. Each of these announcements has implications for nonprofits, brands, and businesses who post content on Facebook Pages.
On January 11, Mark Zuckerberg announced on his page that “public content” - i.e. posts from Facebook Pages run by businesses, organizations, brands - would be less likely to show up in the News Feed to make way for more posts from friends.
In Zuckerberg's words:
"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."
This led to a flurry of frantic posts, discussions, and debate around the question: "Is Facebook killing Pages?"
Then, on January 19, Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook's going to actively work to weed out bad news sources on the site, prioritizing news that's “trustworthy, informative, and local.”
It's unclear exactly how Facebook will determine what separates bad news sites from “trustworthy” ones, but I'm sure we will all experience more surveys - and most likely, fewer news stories in our Feed, in the coming months.
Last week, the latest update wasannounced, and if it works as intended, it could be a boon for small, local nonprofits that struggle to get seen in the crowded News Feed.
“Starting today, we're going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city. If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed.”
This is great news for small nonprofits who host local events, publish local news, and struggle to reach their community members on the biggest social network.
How will it work?
Facebook says that they're going to identify local publishers as those "whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. So if a post or a news article is from a publisher in your local area, AND if you either follow the publisher’s Page or your friend shares a story from that outlet, it might show up higher in News Feed.
In addition, Facebook's testing a new tool called Today In, which is a section which will highlight local news, events, and announcements.Facebook's currently testing the option in six U.S. cities, with a plan to expand it over time.
Small, local nonprofits may benefit from this change, as their news, events, and announcements will likely show up to more people in their area.
Zuckerberg noted himself that Facebook's focus in 2018 is to "make sure Facebook isn't just fun, but also good for your well-being and for society."
It remains to be seen what the exact results will be, but I'm an optimist. Let's hope he changes enable wider exposure for non-profit groups and organizations, helping raise awareness of causes.