Facebook, like every other social media platform, is always evolving. Most recently (rolled out in summer 2017), they updated some key components in their news feed algorithm. If you’re one of the millions that noticed a recent change in your Facebook News Feed, you may have had the initial reaction I did, which was annoyance.
“I’ve seen all of these already… days ago, because they’re a WEEK old. Why am I seeing them again?”
Okay, I know that sounds petty when it’s written out, but isn’t that how social media has wired us now? We want to see the most recent news, not week-old news.
After doing more research, I realized that Facebook actually did something right.
Stop Whining. It’s Not What You Think.
At first, I thought Facebook was just recirculating posts I had already seen, but I was very wrong.
Facebook changed their algorithm to limit the posts we’ve now trained ourselves to pass over. They’re making good on their promise to eliminate fake news.
“It was changing the computer algorithm behind its News Feed to limit the reach of people known to frequently blast out links to click bait stories, sensationalist websites and misinformation.”
Here’s what this means for you:
1) You should no longer see posts that are essentially “spamming” you.
According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Vice President for the News Feed, there is a tiny group of people that have been sharing vast amounts of public posts per day. That tiny group is now affected by the algorithm by the fact that the links they share (photos or other posts are excluded from this) will no longer appear in the news feeds of other users. This eliminates a huge chunk of links that you probably have seen shared by others in your own News Feed.
2) The posts and the order that those posts appear in the News Feed are determined by how you responded previously to similar posts.
This includes how you typically interact with ads, sponsored posts, friends, etc.
3) Stories with click-bait style headlines will be de-emphasized.
You know all those stories that say things like, “You’ll never guess what so-and-so said about so-and-so” or “This is why our country is going to h#&%”…You’ll be seeing fewer of those. The truth is, most of those are fake news anyway, so it’s probably best if you aren’t even tempted by them.
4) Video click-bait stories will disappear from your News Feed.
According to The Verge, Facebook is taking steps to limit images that have fake video play buttons or videos with a static image. Facebook has given preference to video for some time now in their News Feed, and due to spammers finding a work-around, they’re making an effort to weed out those click-bait stories.
5) You should see fast-loading content first.
Thanks to a post in Facebook’s Newsroom, we now know that Facebook is giving preference to web page links that have faster load times. According to Facebook engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo, “As many as 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.” They announced that Facebook is making the changes necessary so that users “can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.”
We’re bound to see additional changes in the battle waged on fake news, but for now, we’re just glad to see that steps are actually being taken to prevent the circulation of false information. And if you’re a marketer or business owner, take note of these changes in Facebook’s algorithm, as they are going to affect you just as much (if not more) than individual users. Be aware of what and how much you are posting and ensure that you’re abiding by Facebook’s rules. If you don’t, you may find your social media marketing efforts being kicked to the curb.