Relax, Chicken Little, the social media sky is not falling. Despite opinions to the contrary from a number of leading social media professionals, I'm here to tell you that the upcoming changes to Facebook Newsfeed will not mean less organic visibliity for brands in the Newsfeeds of people who like their pages. Here's why.
The changes to Facebook Newsfeed are all about improving both the user experience (i.e. less clutter, larger Newsfeed stories) and the user interface (i.e. navigation moving from the left side of the page to the top right). Beyond that, the only other change being made is that Facebook is giving its users new ways to isolate and view very specific items in their Newsfeeds: photos, music, and games. In fact, the only item absent from the new list is Top Stories, which (powered by the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm) is currently the default view for all Facebook users. My guess is that the Top Stories feed (and EdgeRank) is not going away; it's most likely been absorbed into the Newsfeed view (see image above), the top item in the new list of feeds and the one that will automatically reset every twenty-four hours as users' default Newsfeed view (as it does now).
Facebook users have had long options for isolating and viewing only certain items in their Newsfeed; the new design just makes those options a little easier to find, so most of this isn't really anything that new. And if past performance is any indicator of future behavior, all of the data points to Facebook users not making heavy use of these alternate feeds. Currently, most Facebook users don't consistently switch their feed from Top Stories (EdgeRank) to Most Recent (all posts in reverse chronological order). That's a big reason why the average unique impressions per Facebook post by a brand page is typically less than 5% of that page's total likes. It's also why Facebook can make a strong case that brands need to consistently run Marketplace Ads and Promoted Posts; they've engineered their own monopoly.
So despite all of the hype last week, the upcoming changes to the Facebook Newsfeed are mostly cosmetic. Don't expect to see any significant long term shift in user behavior away from branded content.
The EdgeRank algorithm is about the closest thing Facebook has to a cash cow. Don't expect them to do anything that would put that cow out to pasture any time soon.