By Rizal Obanil
“We can be one important part of your strategy, we should not be your entire business model,” Alex Hardiman, Facebook head of news products, said in response to critics, mostly publishers who have alleged that the recent change in the popular social networking sites algorithm for its News Feed has greatly affected their business and some instances even led to their company’s demise.
Hardiman, according to Mashable Asia spoke strongly and fired back at critics in a recent panel discussion at South by Southwest.
The Facebook official was then explaining FB’s side against harsh criticisms they have received regarding the recent changes on their News Feed.
In particular, Hardiman called out the CEO of digital publisher Little Things who blamed FB for the company’s downfall after it recently shutdown following the changes made to Facebook’s News Feed.
“If you think we’re not good for your business, leave,” Hardiman shot back.
In response to companies that blame Facebook for their poor performance: “I don’t think that’s true. I think that when we look at publishers who are not doing well, most likely, it’s because they are abusing the system in some way. Their content might be sensationalist, it could be misleading, it could be triggering ad farm warnings. There’s a reason for certain publishers that they don’t do well on Facebook,” he said.
Hardiman explained that they actually made the new changes in their News Feed in response to previous criticisms.
In a way he admitted that their previous News Feed algorithm “reinforced much of the behavior it’s now trying to combat” with their new algorithm.
He cited clickbait and sensationalism as some of the things they wanted to prevent with the changes that they have implemented.
Chartbeat, a third party data collector, according to the article from Mashable Asia noted that FB’s referral traffic declined by around 15 percent and this affected many publishers who were heavily dependent on the social networking site to promote their business.
Hardiman on the other hand said the changes they made were purely for preventing the things they are now trying to get rid of. He explained that traditionally FB’s News Feed rewarded posts that garner “raw engagement” and “likes’”
Although this may seem harmless at first glance, information contained in such posts could be “emotionally charged, polarized and divisive,” according to Hardiman.
Facebook has recently drawn flak for their seeming failure to control fake news and graphic and violent videos that many view as outside of the norm in terms of things that you can actually share to the public or to the entire world.