It’s now known that passively consuming the Facebook News Feed results in users feeling bad and the social network has this advice…
On Friday, the world’s largest social network published a post on its official blog. Under the “Hard Questions” series, Facebook ostensibly admits “passively consuming” the News Feed makes users feel bad. But, it offers a now routine solution.
Passively Consuming Facebook News Feed causes Users to Feel Bad
For those unfamiliar, the Hard Questions series is a relatively new format. The network directly addresses a societal concern. Then, links the issue to social media’s possible impact. And, finally, offers a solution.
For example, topics previously included “Hate Speech” and about kids safety on the platform. In first example, the company states users should tag hate speech. While in the second, it offers a new product, called “Messenger Kids.”
What’s most telling, is the company emphatically stating passive consumption is the root of the problem. Which by its very nature means sharing, commenting, and liking more will alleviate those bad feelings. Or, by interacting on the network more, people will feel better. This represents a clear pattern. Facebook ultimately states in its Hard Questions series, more usage is the answer.
Facebook Context Collapse Remains a Problem
This is all likely due to what the company internally calls “context collapse.” That is, a decline in organic sharing among is 2+ billion users. In fact, a report from Mavrck shows this decline. The marketer studied over 25 million personal profile Facebook posts through 2016, finding a 29.49 percent decrease per user.
However, user engagement is another matter. Engagement hit its highest levels of 2016 in July, November, with December capturing the most. On average, Facebook users posted fewer updates throughout 2016, although original posts enjoyed higher engagement. But, 2016 engagement decreased compared to 2015 by 15.14 percent year-over-year.
In other words, Facebook faces a dichotomy — people spend more time on the network but share less original content. This is the reason for the introduction of the super-sized text for posts under 35 characters, which increases the font size from 14 to 24. (Posts under 40 characters generate the most user engagement.)
Additionally, the company changed its News Feed post ranking factors to encourage more original user content. It’s also the reason for adding post background colors. And, a myriad of other features which encourage users to share more.
Curiously, the latest entry in the Hard Questions series comes at a time when Facebook is under critical fire from former insiders. For instance, Sean Parker, the company’s first president, that social media is “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” Chamath Palihapitiya, Facebook’s former vice president of user growth, followed that with his own opinion that social media is, “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”