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1ST LEAD German journalists not impressed by Zuckerberg's Facebook changes By Carsten Rave, dpa

Europe
12.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Facebook‘s plans to de-emphasize "relevant content" in its news feeds, while prioritizing "social interactions" with friends and family, met with a negative reaction from the DJV association of German journalists on Friday.

"I see the Facebook changes as problematic," DJV spokesman Hendrik Zoerner told dpa. "Facebook has a high profile and great significance as a communications medium," he said.

Reducing the communication spectrum in this way simply missed the point of Facebook‘s significance as a news outlet, Zoerner said.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that the social media giant would update its services with major changes to users‘ news feeds.

The platform would emphasize "meaningful social interactions" over "relevant content" in its news feed, Zuckerberg wrote on his profile page, indicating that posts from family and friends would be shown more often.

"But recently we‘ve gotten feedback from our community that public content - posts from businesses, brands and media - is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other," he said.

Zoerner responded: "Facebook is not a journalistic medium. It is now at last clear that reliable information comes only from the media. This is the side-effect of this new change."

On Thursday, the new head of German national public broadcaster ARD, Ulrich Wilhelm, proposed creating a joint platform of German private publishers and public broadcasters with a view to seizing market share from the likes of Facebook and Google.

"I would welcome it if this aim succeeded, but I would also like to caution against euphoria," Zoerner said, emphasizing the difficulties in convincing people to switch away from Facebook for their general news.

Zuckerberg had earlier written on his profile page: "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."

Changes to the platform began last year, with Zuckerberg not specific about when they would appear to users, saying, "it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products."

 

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