Facebook announced that it has updated how it ranks stories in the News Feed to surface what it deems to be more relevant news, as well as what your friends have to say about it.
Specifically, Facebook says it is paying closer attention to what makes for high quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from the News Feed on mobile. There’s good news for publishers in that they’re going to start showing more links to articles, especially on mobile, where nearly half of Facebook users are accessing the social network exclusively.
“Why are we doing this? Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme,” says Facebook software engineer Varun Kacholia in a blog post. “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,” Kacholia adds. “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.”
Here’s what that looks like:
Earlier this year, Facebook introduced the concept of “story bumping” to the News Feed algorithm. This is when Facebook “bumps” up a story in the News Feed because it’s getting a lot of likes and comments.
Facebook is now updating bumping to highlight stories with new comments. So now, you’re more likely to revisit a story that you saw before if your friends have commented on it.
“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,” says Kacholia.
Facebook recently told publishers that posting more frequently increases referral traffic by over 80%.This was based on testing with 29 partner media sites.
An October Pew Research Center study found that half of U.S. Facebook users use the social network to get news.