Facebook announces big changes to the way it's bringing you media

US online social media and social networking service Facebook. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE

We’re all feeling pretty bruised here in the Starts at 60 Newsroom tonight. So we want to have an open and frank conversation with you about the reasons and how you can help.  

Finally, Facebook’s boss Mark Zuckerberg has come out and admitted he’s taking away the ‘news’ from your Facebook news feed and we know that’s going to change a few things around here at Starts at 60 (actually it already has, with us seeing signs for 4-6 months).  

It is a massive backflip from the position of ‘media platform’ that Facebook once professed it wanted to be and a huge blow for publishers who have built actively alongside them. And, from Zuckerberg’s report, the changes will already be having a huge effect on what you see on your wall, with Facebook now prioritising friends and family, and demoting or removing posts from businesses, brands and media. 

For many, this will be a relief as if your news feed is anything like mine, it has become full of low-quality videos, fairly mediocre media and large quantities of advertising. But it also has an impact on how we reach you, and could well have a huge impact on the way you consume media from now on.  

Most importantly, because many of you access Starts at 60 through your newsfeed, we need you to read on and take one or more of our five recommended actions if you want to continue to see and be a part of our active community and have the opportunity to receive our content regularly, on or off Facebook.  

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In a statement published on Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote:

“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

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.

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Facebook will be placing priority on things that engage communities in discussion, so requires any legitimate communities like Starts at 60 to adapt into Facebook ‘groups’, rather than ‘pages’, and will reduce the reach of any media-style publishing from Facebook Pages of media companies and businesses, all of whom have paid Facebook heavily to establish their communities on the platform.    

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As a media operation here to serve you, this is frustrating. We have spent a lot of money on Facebook to reach you and build up the trust you have in our media and community. And we know it is very convenient for you to receive your content via Facebook.  But if you haven’t noticed already, you surely will now notice soon that we have been appearing on your walls less and less.  

And if you no longer receive news media via Facebook and would like to continue that in some form, it is likely you’ll have to look for it elsewhere, and we want you to know where to look.  

To help us reach you in the next phase we ask you to do all of the following things:

 

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This is the most important action we have for you.  As we evolve here, it will ensure we can bring you with us. Starts at 60 is now sending two action-packed emailers a day, one around lunchtime and one in the evening Australia time, that bring you the most popular of our stories.

 

  • Join one or many of our NEW Starts at 60 Clubs and Groups on Facebook. These will be prioritised in your news feeds by Facebook and are proving fantastic communities! We’ll be publishing into these, but more importantly, we’ve been building communities in each that are becoming exciting, engaging and really powerful places to be, and all centre around your specific interests so you won’t miss anything.  

News Junkies Club – Australia  https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60newsjunkiesAU/

News Junkies Club – USA https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60newsjunkiesUSA/

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Travel lovers Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelat60travelloversAU/

Grandparents Club https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60grandparents/

Health Club https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60healthclub/

Food-Lovers Club https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60foodlovers/

Money Club https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60moneyclub/

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Style and Celeb Lovers https://www.facebook.com/groups/startsat60sassysixties/

Nostalgia Club https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60nostalgiaclub/

Carers Club https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60carers/

Book Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/startsat60bookclub/

Crafters Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/startsat60craftersclub/

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Gardeners Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/startsat60gardenersclub/

Man Cave https://facebook.com/groups/startsat60mancave/

Older Entrepreneur https://www.facebook.com/groups/olderentrepreneur/

 

  • Visit the Starts at 60 page on Facebook and look for the setting ‘See First’ which is where you can select Starts at 60, to ensure you will see our latest and hottest content on your newsfeed when you come for a look.
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  • Visit our websites (we recently relaunched them so they are truly beautiful) Startsat60.com and Travelat60.com.  There are new stories going up here every 15-30 minutes all day long, and plenty of opportunity to comment and discuss, just as there is on Facebook. Plus, it allows you to choose what you see, rather than Facebook selecting which of our content it shows you, as is the case on your news feed. And there is always something interesting to read – we publish a far bigger variety of stories than you might realise just from what Facebook chooses to show you!

 

  • Comment on our articles when you do see them on Facebook. We are a conversation-driven community so this should affect us less than other media outlets, but we need you to bear in mind that only content with comments will reach you. That excites and terrifies us at the same time!  So please, join the conversation more.  

We’ve been blessed to have Facebook as a media platform for the last four years, and to grow our community using it.  For it to continue to grow, we need to build our relationship with you off-Facebook from now on, so please, come over to our website and sign up.  

Rebecca Xxx