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Facebook News Feed Shifts Focus to Family and Friends

When Facebook launched in 2005, it was directly targeted to connect people and bring friends and family closer. It was the center to communicate with friends far away through its notorious wall posts, reconnect with childhood pals through suggested friends, and unite with primas and tías with Facebook groups.

Now, the social media phenomenon, created by Mark Zuckerberg, plans to go back to its roots to foment “meaningful interactions.” On January 11, the company announced an update to its “News Feed.” The News Feed will now allow for more friends and family content, instead of brands and news outlets. It is a move that will touch the hearts of Latinos worldwide. As the social network noted, “For U.S. Hispanics, digital platforms are often used as a destination to foster and sustain connections with family and friends, plus a place to celebrate and express diverse aspects in life.”

Facebook has become an essential tool of Latino family life. A study by Facebook revealed that 48 percent of Hispanics’ Facebook friends are family members, compared to the total population’s 36 percent. Facebook is also the most-used social network by Latinos in the United States, according to Pew Research Center, with 73 percent of Hispanic adults registered on the platform. “Social media represents the most powerful medium Latinos have ever had to find their voice,” said Manny Ruiz, the former chairman of Hispanicize Media Group to NPR, “and harness their growing strength socially, economically and politically.”

The update comes after the company surveyed its community to find out how they prefer to use the site.“We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people,” Mark Zuckerberg told the New York Times. “We need to refocus the system.”

Surely, Facebook listened to the Hispanic community, which the social network calls the “most mobile and socially active group in the U.S.” and has a daily user average of 80 percent. The community also relies on Facebook Messenger, an app that allows users to chat and call others regardless of their location.  

This is not the first time the company makes changes to its algorithm or “News Feed.” Last year, Facebook revealed an algorithm change that would prioritize video content and trending news over click-bait and text-only status updates. Still, Facebook is mindful of the role news outlets and brands have on your everyday life and have added a feature that allows users to adjust their settings to see content from pages more often. (We know too much family time can be a bit overwhelming.)

We predict most 2018 fiestas in your familión will be planned on Facebook.

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