In recent weeks there has been a ripple of concern that Facebook may roll out controversial changes to its news feed worldwide.

At present the social media giant is trialling a system whereby the primary news feed is reserved solely for posts by friends and paid-for adverts. All other content – including from pages that a person has ‘liked’ – is diverted to another stream.

So far the system has only been introduced in six relatively small jurisdictions, including Serbia and Sri Lanka.

But the feedback from publications in the countries affected suggests that the change has had a considerable impact on engagement, which is reported to have fallen by as much as 80 per cent.

There are particular concerns about the impact on smaller businesses, which have increasingly used social media to build an audience and divert traffic to their own website.

There has inevitably been a lot of concern about the possibility that the same changes will be introduced more widely and what this may mean for businesses.

Adam Mosseri, a senior figure at Facebook, sought to reassure users that there was no immediate proposal to expand the new system.

“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content,” he said.

“We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further. There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries.”

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