Facebook (FB)’s flagship feature, its News Feed stream, will be reducing the amount of political posts and topical events content that appears for users. The move to depoliticize the News Feed experience is a result of the multiple random tests it’s been running on a sample of its users since the start of this year. Facebook began testing users in the US, Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia through limiting political content on their feeds and seeing whether that led to increased engagement. Based on this (and survey feedback as well), the company announced that its users tend to prefer less politically-charged content on their screens.
Data analytics show how right-wing news commentators consistently gain the most engagements on their Facebook posts regularly. As a result, this comes as an attempt to move FB back to being a ‘social’ as opposed to a political site.
why it matters
This move is clearly set to impact key news publications with large followings on the platform. But, as Facebook just named 25 journalists last week for its Substack-rival platform it has in the works (Bulletin), the depoliticization of the News Feed might mean an increased emphasis elsewhere.