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Facebook plans major changes to news feed

Facebook is to change how its news feed works, making posts from businesses, brands and media less prominent. Instead, content that sparks conversations among family and friends who use the site will be emphasised, explained chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on his page. Organisations on Facebook may see the popularity of their posts decrease as a result, the firm acknowledged. The changes will take effect over the coming weeks. “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal…

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Your Instagram feed may reveal if you have depression, study finds

Your Instagram feed may be better at recognizing signs of depression than your doctor, according to a study from researchers at Harvard University and the University of Vermont. Researchers used a machine learning computer program to analyze 43,950 Instagram photos from 166 participants. They found that the computer’s analysis of Instagram feeds was better at diagnosing depression than a general practitioner. The study, spearheaded by Andrew G. Reece at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology and Chirstopher M. Danforth at the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab, also found that certain…

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Technology 

Facebook prunes 'shocking' news feed posts

Websites that harbour “disruptive, shocking or malicious” adverts will appear less frequently on user’s news feeds, Facebook has said. The social network is tweaking the algorithm that picks posts for feeds to do a better job of spotting “low quality” web pages. Instead, the algorithm will seek out more informative posts. It said the change was part of broader work it was doing to make Facebook less profitable for spammers. Building trust The change was aimed at sites that contained “little substantive content” and were set up only to profit…

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Food 

McDonald’s near Vatican helps feed the homeless

McDonald’s received a lukewarm reception when it opened a new branch just steps from St. Peter’s Square last month, but on Jan 16 the fast food giant accepted a challenge to adopt one of Pope Francis’s cherished principles – feeding the hungry. The new restaurant, whose opening in a Vatican-owned building on Dec 30 upset some purists, donated dozens of meals to a charity which distributed them at a walk-in clinic in Rome. Pope Francis has made defence of the poor and needy a cornerstone of his papacy, setting up shower…

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