Social media

Facebook's latest tweak means fewer text-only Page posts for you

Jan. 22, 2014 at 11:51 AM ET

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this file photo illustration from May 2, 2013....
Dado Ruvic / Reuters
Users may not notice a massive difference in the newsfeed that greets them on Facebook, but owners of Pages who depend on Facebook for site traffic are likely to be displeased.

Facebook is tweaking its newsfeed yet again. Now, users will see more text-only posts from friends — and fewer from brands.

Facebook announced the change to its algorithm on Tuesday in a post aimed mainly at owners of "Pages," which are generally created for companies and public figures rather than individuals.

The company explained that it had previously begun showing more text-only posts in users’ newsfeeds, because internal tests showed that it caused people to write more status updates themselves. In fact, when Facebook began showing more text posts at that time, users posted an average of nine million more status updates each day.

But over time, Facebook realized that text updates from Pages didn’t have the same effect. So, Tuesday’s newsfeed change treats text posts from Pages “as a different category from those of friends.”

In short: Facebook wants its users to be highly engaged with the site, which boosts its attractiveness to advertisers and therefore to investors. Anything that precludes engagement will be analyzed and likely changed.

Users may not notice a massive difference in the newsfeed that greets them on Facebook, but owners of Pages who depend on Facebook for site traffic are likely to be displeased.

Facebook dedicated much of its post encouraging Page owners to share links in a way that includes photo or video, as these visual posts “get more engagement” compared with simply embedding a link in a text-only status update.

In fact, while text-only Page posts will decrease in the feed, "other story types" may pop up more frequently, Facebook said.

As always, however, Facebook stopped short of dictating how Pages should share content as a rule, saying, "It depends on who your audience is and what they want to see."

Facebook echoed that sentiment in closing its post: "In general, we recommend that you use the story type that best fits the message that you want to tell — whether that's a status, photo, link or video."

Julianne Pepitone is a senior technology writer for NBC News Digital. Previously she was a staff writer at CNNMoney, where she covered large tech companies including Apple and Google, as well as the intersection of tech and media. Follow Julianne on Twitter at @julpepitone or email her at julianne.pepitone@nbcuni.com.

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