Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Show More Timely Stories

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Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Show More Timely Stories
Facebook on Thursday has announced that it is updating the News Feed to show more timely stories from Friends and Pages.

"Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don't miss the stories that are important to them. We've heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show... Our latest update to News Feed ranking looks at two new factors to determine if a story is more important in the moment than other types of updates," said company's software engineers Erich Owens and David Vickrey in a blog post.

One part of the update includes the way Facebook will show timely content higher-up in the News Feed based on trending topics. According to the blog post, it means that when a friend or connected Page posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, it will more likely appear higher up in News Feed. As a result, the company saw a 6 percent increase in people engagement with such elevated posts during testing.

The second part of the update for News Feed is based on the liking or commenting on a post. At present, Facebook determines the post priority based on the total number of likes that a post has received. Now with the update, the company suggests that it will "begin looking at when people are choosing to like, comment and share."

So, "if people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at the time it was posted, but potentially less interesting at a later date. Based on this signal it is more likely to appear higher in News Feed earlier on and lower at a later date."

Lastly, Facebook is also planning another way of showing timely stories, by taking signals from recent updates to bump stories in News Feed. "Bumping is when we resurface stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see but are still getting lots of engagement."

The blog post notes that the update will be rolling out these changes gradually and users should not expect to see significant changes in distribution of posts on their News Feeds as a result of this update.

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