Analysts are warning investors that Facebook could lose up to $23 billion dollars off its value after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media network would be making changes to its News Feed feature. The announcement that people will see more posts from family and friends rather than posts from businesses, pages, and other media pushed the stock down on fears of decreased engagement by Facebook's more than 2 billion users worldwide.
"One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent. We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us," Zuckerberg posted to Facebook on January 11th. "That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness."
Facebook share fell 4 percent just hours after Zuckerberg's announcement. The CEO's own personal net worth also took a big hit with the Silicon Valley wiz kid losing $3.3 billion of his own after the reported change.
Zuckerberg says feedback from the community helped him arrive to this decision. According to users, posts from business pages and brands are crowding out personal moments that made Facebook so valuable to people when it first started.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
Zuckerberg wrote that because of these changes, he would expect people to spend less time on his site.
But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.
The CEO says it's important to him that users have more meaningful social interactions online with his site.