Facebook Algorithm Tweak Orders News by Popularity

Facebook has revealed yet another new update to its News Feed, announcing that posts will be shown more prominently for longer if they are popular. They have also made it easier to stalk your crush. The way that the social media site curates friends’ stories on the News Feed has been met with criticism in the past. Now you’ll be less likely to miss that hot story from a friend or waste time sorting through those stories you could care less about from those “friends” you could care even less about.

The change means that your most popular posts can bask in social media glory for longer. The number and frequency of “likes” and comments on individual posts will help Facebook highlight your most interesting stories, as determined by your friends. The organic stories that you typically wouldn’t scroll down far enough to see (unless you have way too much time on your hands) can now reappear near the top of the News Feed if the stories are still receiving a ton of social media love. What it means for you is that an amazing shot of yourself or witty status update will have a higher chance of being seen by even more people, even if they are a few hours old. The feature does not impact the way paid content appears on News Feeds.

The News Feed algorithm has also been revamped to respond to “signals from you.” A Godsend for social media stalkers, this means that if you spent time frequently creeping a friend’s page, you will suddenly see a lot more of that person. The “Last Actor” feature looks at the 50 people you most recently interacted with on Facebook in everything from viewing someone’s profile or photos to actually liking or commenting on their feed stories, then shows you more of them in your feed in the short-term. Creepy, yet helpful at times.

The Facebook changes were made in the wake of a testing of a random sample of 7000 daily users in July in which it was discovered that many people didn’t stick around on the site long enough to engage with all relevant posts that may be of interest. It discovered that when those posts were ordered chronologically, the number of “likes” and comments actually fell. A test of the change showed that the number of stories people read in News Feeds rose to 70 per cent from 57 per cent with “bumping,” according to Facebook.

Taking into account relationships and how often a member engaged with the posts of friends, Facebook’s ranking software assigns numerical scores to the roughly 1,500 stories typically eligible for delivery to a member’s News Feed, then displays the top 300. If you’re worried about the effects of this feature when it comes to certain, um, questionable “friends,” remember that privacy settings exist for a reason and that hiding posts sinks content from that person in News Feed rankings. 

Happy creeping!


Cover Image: Mashable