Facebook announced that it’s rolling out another change to its News Feed algorithm that takes into account the time users spend on stories.
Long story short, if users spend more time looking at a post, Facebook is going to assume that such a post is of interest. In other words, it’s not just about the liking, commenting, and sharing of the post.
“There are times when, for example, people want to see information about a serious current event, but don’t necessarily want to like or comment on it,” Facebook says in a blog post. “Based on this finding, we are updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed.”
“When talking to people about the way they use their News Feed, we’ve found that it’s not as simple as just measuring the number of seconds you spend on each story to understand if that piece of content resonated with you. Some people may spend ten seconds on a story because they really enjoy it, while others may spend ten seconds on a story because they have a slow internet connection. We’ve discovered that if people spend significantly more time on a particular story in News Feed than the majority of other stories they look at, this is a good sign that content was relevant to them.”
“For example, you may scroll quickly through your News Feed and like a photo of your friend’s graduation, followed by sharing a funny post from your sister,” the company continues. “You keep scrolling and happen upon a post your cousin shared detailing everything she did and saw on her recent trip. Her post even includes a photo. You spend time reading her post and the interesting discussion about the best places to eat that had broken out in the comments on this post, but you don’t feel inclined to like or comment on it yourself. Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.
The change is already rolling out, but it will take weeks to complete. The good news for Pages worried about taking a major blow to their reach is that Facebook says it doesn’t expect Pages to see significant changes in distribution. I guess that’s bad news (or at least non-news) for those hoping to get more distribution for their insightful content.
Image via The Official Grumpy Cat (Facebook)