Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) news feed algorithm is being blamed for about 50 layoffs at the digital media company Vox Media, Inc. The job cuts will mostly affect SB Nation, Racked, Curbed, and Vox Media’s video service team.
Vox Media’s CEO Jim Bankoff announced the layoffs in a memo on February 21. In addition to the layoffs, about a dozen employees will be offered different positions in the company. Bankoff cited “industry changes over the past few months” as the reason for the Vox Media layoffs in 2018, which will reduce the company’s workforce by five percent.
Changes to Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to its news feed algorithm on January 11. It will affect brands’ ability to reach Facebook users through organic distribution. The changes prioritize family and friend interactions over company-generated posts.
This strategy is supposed to shrink the content consumed directly from the business pages on Facebook. Posts that generate the most comments, shares, and messages—and increase interactions between friends—will be weighted more, compared to posts that only generate “likes.” Moreover, longer comments will be weighted more compared to shorter ones.
Zuckerberg admitted that businesses will have to work harder to gain customers’ attention on the platform.“I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect that the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down, said Zuckerberg. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”
Zuckerberg added, “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 changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm have increased worries by digital media companies, and the layoffs at Vox Media are a result of those changes. Many digital media companies have recently observed a drop in their advertising revenue, partly due to the changes at Facebook.
Facebook and Google, whose parent company is Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), are the leading players in digital advertising in the United States.
“Vox Media Cuts 50 Employees,” Bloomberg, February 21, 2018.
“Vox Media layoffs are latest sign of trouble for digital media,” Moneywatch, February 21, 2018.
“How to Make Facebook’s 2018 Algorithm Change Work for your Business,” Reshift Media, January 16 2018.
“What the Big Facebook News Feed Changes Mean for Brands,” Hootsuite, January 15, 2018.