By Lisa Allege Powell via Iris.xyz

When Facebook (FB) announces changes to the News Feed, communicators straighten up and listen. The most recent changes were sudden and significant, affecting the lives of social media strategists and content marketers overnight—even forcing once-flourishing publishers to shut their doors. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the most recent News Feed tweaks, but many brands are still struggling to understand.

So what exactly does this mean for communicators? Here’s the run-down:

Friends & Family First:

Facebook kicked off 2018 by announcing they would make changes to their algorithm in an interest to better promote users’ mental health. Their studies have shown that genuine interactions between friends—not viral video content or national news—is what promotes a strong well-being. This, according to Zuckerberg himself, means, “…you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” If your business, brand or media page wants to remain visible, your posts will need to garner meaningful engagement.

Local News > National News:

Facebook announced it would prioritize local news over national news so that users can see content that has a direct impact on them and their community. According to Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product, and Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships, local publishers are defined as “those whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. If a story is from a publisher in your area, and you either follow the publisher’s Page or your friends share a story from that outlet, it might show up higher in your News Feed.”

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