Here we go again: Facebook edges businesses out of news feed

Sometimes I think Mark Zuckerberg sees the people and businesses who inhabit his world – aka Facebook – like dolls at a 4-year-old’s tea party.

He sits us where he likes. He makes us interact with each other however the mood strikes him on any given day.

Currently, Zuckerberg is in the mood to decrease the amount of time you spend on Facebook (this caused FB stock to drop, costing Zuckerberg $3.3 billion) and to accomplish this, he ordered his people to feature less content from businesses, brands, and media in users’ news feeds.

The reasoning behind Zuckerberg’s decision is that he wants Facebook to bring us closer together with the people “who matter to us.” The boom in public posts from businesses and other entities started to claim too much territory on our news feeds, according to Zuckerberg.

Of course, we’ll have to wait to see what the ultimate impact of this may have. His pronouncement could be more PR than priority, if, for example, the decrease in public posts is very small.

On the positive side, Zuckerberg gives businesses a pretty good hint if they want their public content to work their way into people’s news feeds. The content “should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

He gives examples of how there are communities of Facebook users around TV shows and sports teams. You can probably relate to these kinds of groups. (As I’m writing this, the NFL playoffs are well underway and I imagine many Minnesota fans – after their team’s last-second win – are making comments to some public Facebook content posted by the Vikings organization.)

The point is that what you post as a business should have the potential to create general interest and engagement within your desired audience. A mere business pronouncement of some sort would probably fall short of these criteria. Post content that starts a conversation.

Zuckerberg also points out that live video creates more interest than recorded video. That should be further encouragement for you to explore how you can leverage Facebook Live.

I wonder if these kinds of moves weaken Facebook and social media marketing because they make planning difficult for businesses. If your audience exposure can change at the whim of one person, how can you budget or measure results?

It’s not crazy to believe that investors and accountants are shooting Zuckerberg emails right now asking him what he thinks he’s doing. After all, virtually every move Facebook has made up to this point is to encourage more business involvement in the social media platform. If he weakens Facebook as a marketing channel, perhaps someday – although not soon – a competitor will rise up.

Mark Zuckerberg on stage at Facebook’s F8 Conference image by Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons