Facebook has announced an update to its "News Feed" to prioritise posts from the user's friends and family "so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends".
The update, which may hurt media outlets that rely on the social network to attract readers, was announced on Wednesday by Adam Mosseri, Vice President-Product Management, Facebook News Feed.
He said the social networking giant was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family, which is the driving principle of the news feed even today.
"Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to - starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why if it’s from your friends, it’s in your feed, period - you just have to scroll down," Mosseri wrote in a blog post on newsroom.fb.com.
The move would put posts from friends and family toward the top of a user's News Feed. For example, if a person tends to like photos from his sister, Facebook will start putting her posts closer to the top of the feed.
Mosseri said that research has shown that "people expect the stories in their feed to be meaningful to them".
The move comes after allegations by a former Facebook contractor that the social network was suppressing some political viewpoints in its "Trending Topics".
"We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about," Mosseri wrote.
"Our integrity depends on being inclusive of all perspectives and view points, and using ranking to connect people with the stories and sources they find the most meaningful and engaging."
"We don’t favour specific kinds of sources - or ideas. Our aim is to deliver the types of stories we’ve gotten feedback that an individual person most wants to see," Mosseri added.
The latest update in the News Feed algorithm is expected to hit news organisations that rely heavily on Facebook as a major source of referral traffic, as the social networking site is increasingly used by its 1.6 billion users as a key source of news.