Only a couple of months after Facebook admitted that passively scrolling through social media posts can make people feel worse, the social network’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has said that not all interactions on its platform are good for you.
Sandberg said Facebook decided to change its News Feed to favor more “meaningful” connections, after taking into consideration research showing that some kinds of usage of social networks may have negative effects, Variety.com reported.
“What the data shows is not all interactions in social media are equally good for people in terms of their psychological well-being,” Sandberg was quoted as saying at Morgan Stanley’s 2018 Technology, Media and Telecom Conference here on Wednesday. Citing scientific research on well-being and social media, Facebook in December 2017 highlighted the two sides of using social media — the good and the bad.
“According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology,” Facebook said in a blog post. In January 2018, Facebook announced changes to the algorithm it uses to show posts in users’ News Feeds to favour content from friends and family, rather than posts from third-party publishers.
The social networking giant has come under the scanner in recent times for failing to stop spread of false and misleading news during the 2016 US presidential election and for allegedly selling ads to a Russia-linked group aimed at sowing political discord among Americans.
But Facebook, according to Sandberg, continues to take steps to minimise the distribution of fake news and curtail the actions of those who try to manipulate the platform. Sandberg admitted that 2017 was a “challenging year — that feels like a bit of an understatement” — and she said that 2018 feels like it will be too.
Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner, also speaking at the conference, said that News Feed changes would not dramatically affect advertising revenue of the social network. “I don’t think the impact on the business is really that profound,” Wehner was quoted as saying.