Facebook news feed changes 'decimated' publisher

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Lifestyle site Little Things says it has had to close after changes to Facebook's news feed algorithms "decimated" its business.

The closure of the female-focused publishing business will result in the loss of 100 jobs.

The company focused on a mix of "feel-good news" and videos. Since launching in 2014, it attracted 12 million followers on Facebook.

But the company said Facebook's changes had been "catastrophic".

Chief executive Joe Spieser told Business Insider that Facebook's recent algorithm changes had wiped out roughly 75% of Little Things' organic traffic and hit its income.

Image source, Little Things
Image caption,
Little Things publishes lifestyle tips and recipes

In January, the social network said it would prioritise content from friends and family - rather than publishers - in the news feed.

Little Things said it had been in talks to sell its business to another media company. However, in a memo to its staff, it revealed that the buyer had pulled out.

"The businesses looking to acquire Little Things got spooked and promptly exited the sale process, leaving us in jeopardy of our bank debt covenants and ultimately bringing an expedited end to our incredible story," it said.

Little Things started as a content-marketing page for the online pet food retailer PetFlow, in 2014. Its Facebook page attracted 800,000 followers in June that year.

PetFlow was then spun off to become a standalone media company in September 2014.

The company had taken advantage of Facebook's emphasis on video and produced its own lifestyle and cookery content.

"What happens to the Little Things brand, we all know and love, is uncertain at this point," it said in a statement.

Gretchen Tibbits, president and chief operation officer for the firm, told the BBC the hardest thing is that "100 incredible people have been impacted".

The company said it would continue to update its website for the time being but Ms Tibbits confirmed that "today is the last day" for the firm.