In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg today wrote: "Rrecently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments [from friends and family] that lead us to connect more with each other."
Explaining however, that recently "video and other public content have exploded on Facebook ... [and] since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do -- help us connect with each other."
Zuckerberg even acknowledged mental health issues associated with the news feed stating: "We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being ... the research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good."
He then described upcoming changes to the Facebook news feed designed to "[change] the news feed algorithm to surface relevant content that facilitates meaningful social interactions among your friends and family."
The changes impact the ranking algorithm used to determine what posts are visible in your news feed, and in what order. Previously, that algorithm ranked content based on user engagement metrics like time-on-site, "likes", click-through-rates, etc. Going forward, posts originating from friends will receive an algorithmic boost, whereas posts from brands and publishers will be demoted.
The changes do not appear to directly impact Facebook Ads, but will likely have an indirect impact as less organic post reach will likely increase demand for Facebook advertising, which will raise advertising prices.
As for the future of the Facebook news feed, Zuckerberg states users will see "less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media" and that he expects "the time people spend on Facebook ... will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable."