How Facebook Changed Its News Feed Algorithm

MoreFromTheAtlantic650Facebook detailed the changes to its News Feed algorithm that were reported earlier, saying in a Newsroom post that average referral traffic to media sites has leapt by more than 170 percent in the past year.

The social network said it tweaked its algorithm to ensure that users see more relevant articles in their News Feeds, it began serving them related articles, and it updated its Story Bumping feature in order to highlight stories with new comments.

More details follow from the Newsroom post:

People use Facebook to share and connect, including staying current on the latest news, whether it’s about their favorite celebrity or what’s happening in the world. We’ve noticed that people enjoy seeing articles on Facebook, and so we’re now paying closer attention to what makes for high-quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile. What this means is that you may start to notice links to articles a little more often (particularly on mobile).

Why are we doing this? Our surveys show that on average, people prefer links to high-quality articles about current events, their favorite sports teams, or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high-quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high-quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.

To complement people’s interest in articles, we recently began looking at ways to show people additional articles similar to ones they had just read. Soon, after you click on a link to an article, you may see up to three related articles directly below the News Feed post to help you discover more content you may find interesting.

While trying to show more articles people want to read, we also don’t want people to miss the conversations among their friends. So we’re updating bumping to highlight stories with new comments. After people read a story, they are unlikely to go back and find that story again to see what their friends were saying about it, and it wouldn’t bump up in News Feed. With this update, stories will occasionally resurface that have new comments from friends.

As a result, people may start seeing a few more stories returning to their feed with new comments highlighted. Our testing has shown that doing this in moderation for just a small number of stories can lead to more conversations between people and their friends on all types of content.

Readers: What do you think of Facebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm?

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Blogging: Analytics, SEO, and Content

Blogging: Analytics, SEO, and ContentWork with the former marketing director at Conde Nast Digital to improve your search rankings, integrate social, and increase traffic to your blog! Starting November 5, Jim Hopkinson will teach you how to analyze KPIs, monetize your blog through ads, sponsorships, and affiliates, and leverage your blog toward a larger platform such as publishing, speaking, or consulting. Register now!