Last night, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced via a Facebook post that Facebook is changing how News Feed works. In short: more posts from friends and family, less reach for publishers and brands.

Now, it seems that announcement might have cost Zuckerberg roughly $3 billion, personally--as a result of the effect it had on Facebook's share price Friday. (It dropped 4.47%, to $179.37; trading won't resume until next Tuesday due to the holiday.)

Media companies are understandably concerned about how Facebook's sudden shift will affect their business. Advertisers are really worried about whether a marketing platform they've come to rely on is suddenly going to become much more expensive.

Because while we sort of think we get the gist of what this might mean for publishers, there's a ton of uncertainty. 

And of course, many media companies aren't really in a financial position to weather a massive amount of uncertainty.

Yes, I know that the media doesn't get a lot of sympathy these days.

But it's worth keeping in mind that even the bigger companies that drive engagement on Facebook, and that employ thousands if not millions of people, are tiny compared to Facebook.

They're tiny compared even to Zuckerberg himself, at this point. 

Earlier this year for example, we reported that Google and Facebook make more money from advertising than every newspaper, magazine, and radio station on the planet combined

But I'm afraid even that piece of information doesn't make this all clear to our numerically-challenged minds. So here's a small exercise, using dollar signs.

Buzzfeed, king of the Facebook post, brought in an estimated $280 million in revenue last year. Let's let a dollar sign represent $100 million, so Buzzfeed's annual revenue looks something like this:

$$$.

The New York Times was on track to make $579 million last year -- again, the entire company. Again, a dollar sign represents $100 million:

$$$$$$.

Now compare these to the estimated amount Zuckerberg lost Friday, just one day. Roughly:

$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$.

And while we're at it, compare it to what he has left: 

$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$.

This is not to begrudge the success of Facebook, or Zuckerberg personally. As for the News Feed, I'm a little nervous, but change is often a good thing. A year from now we might all wind up grateful.

Maybe. Again, there's a ton of uncertainty here. 

And as a disclosure, if it wasn't obvious--between my writing here on Inc.com and my day job with a digital media company, I'm very much entangled with Facebook. The net worth of my entire neighborhood probably wouldn't amount to one $ in the experiment above, but this change will likely affect me  

But I'm also grateful for Facebook. Heck, I partially owe the platform for my marriage. (Long story.)

Still, at this size, the smallest move Zuckeberg or Facebook makes results in immense ripples throughout the digital economy.

So while Facebook works on improving the News Feed, a request: Think before acting, so you don't accidentally destroy everything around you at the same time.

(Author's note: I updated this post to correct the number of $'s reflecting Zuckerberg's net worth. By mistake, it originally reflected $7.4 billion, not the more accurate figure of $74 billion.)

Published on: Jan 12, 2018