While you were sleeping last night, Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg announced sweeping changes to Facebook that will affect brands and marketers worldwide.

You can read his full announcement here: CLICK ME

Essentially, the Facebook CEO has announced that he wants the Facebook News Feed to revert back to a place where people interact with people – their friends and family – and not businesses, brands and pages.

Some key quotes from his announcement are below, and they certainly are a concern for those of us who use Facebook as a marketing tool, as a place to build brand awareness and communicate with our online communities.

‘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.’

‘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.’
‘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.’

‘The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.’

The last line above is one that has the digital marketing world scratching their heads today. Is this the end of organic reach for brands and businesses on Facebook? Is this a way to force more money from advertisers? What about the small/medium businesses without the huge budgets?

Zuckerberg claims the changes will mean that we see less low quality content and News Feed will provide users with content that they will want to interact with, content that will start conversations between people. He doesn’t want time spent on Facebook to be a passive experience. This is definitely a good thing – who doesn’t want informative/entertaining content that you can share with your mates? But this will come at the expense of reach and engagement for businesses and brands.

This video from Facebook examines the upcoming changes, rolling out over “the next few months”: