A brief translation of today's Facebook news from Facebook speak to English

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Facebook has made a major announcement about the future of its newsfeed and, in particular, its relationship to news publishers. It is, of course, posted in that relentlessly upbeat obfuscation that’s the de facto PR language of Silicon Valley these days. Here’s a handy translation of it for you:

Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships. One of the ways we do this is by connecting people to meaningful posts from their friends and family in News Feed. Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about. Mark outlined this in a post today.

We can’t make money unless you keep telling us things about yourself that we can sell to advertisers. Please stop talking about news.

Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed.

To make sure we can monetise your relationships.

With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.

We’re fed up with being scapegoated for the “fake news” problem, so we’re getting rid of news.

To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.

Hey, who cares about polarisation? It’s a great monetisation strategy for us.

We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values.

Thanks for spending time and effort building up your Pages: now fuck you and pay us.

Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.

News publishers: fuck you and pay us.

As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.

Unless you pay.

The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.

But you will still see an effect.

Unless you pay.

Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.

Live video still isn’t working, but we’ll keep hitting you until it does.

Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.

It’s not us, it’s you: you’re shit at connecting, unlike those lovely influencers (who pay us).

Using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.

Pay us.

Further reading

Here’s how Twitter is reacting

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.