Social media managers and publishers are not happy after Facebook announced News Feed changes that could lead to a decline in reach and referral traffic.
Facebook announced the changes Wednesday morning in two blog posts. The company is altering its priorities so users don’t miss stories from friends, Facebook engineering director Lars Backstrom wrote in one post.
The explanation for the changes was a bit confusing. Backstrom referred to Facebook’s update from last April, which aimed to make sure stories posted directly by users’ friends were higher up in their News Feed.
"We are updating News Feed over the coming weeks so that the things posted by the friends you care about are higher up in your News Feed," he wrote.
Based on another blog post by Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s VP of product management for News Feed, the latest changes mean Facebook posts by friends and family will get priority over news content.
But what has publishers and content creators really worried is what Backstrom noted lower in the blog post.
"Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages," he wrote.
The specific impact on a user’s distribution and metrics will vary depending on the audience, Backstrom added.
"If a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts," he wrote.
Here’s how some boldface names from the PR and media worlds reacted to the news on Twitter.
Will Brands finally have to make super shareable content for Facebook or will we see the Clickbait Factor rise with this newsfeed change?— Christina Stephens (@CEStephens) June 29, 2016
I'm not totally sure what this latest newsfeed change means just yet, but I feel like it just got more expensive to be a brand on Facebook.— Christina Stephens (@CEStephens) June 29, 2016
Social media managers reading about the Facebook newsfeed changes this morning: pic.twitter.com/yUQmNgrLv4— Lacy Baugher (@LacyMB) June 29, 2016
i reactivated my FaceBook profile to annotate this facebook memo about "Building a Better NewsFeed 4 u" https://t.co/23TgUMYSY6— Leah Finnegan (@leahfinnegan) June 29, 2016
Important distinction: publisher organic reach will go down but this does not affect PAID reach. Facebook will happily take your ad spend— ?_? (@MikeIsaac) June 29, 2016
As a publisher, if you don't have the ability or capacity to change tactics, then you actually are in trouble.— Ziad Ramley (@ziadramley) June 29, 2016
The article first appeared on prweek.com.