The main purpose of Facebook news feed is to give users information that is really relevant to them. Because this information usually come from different sources – friends, favourite pages, businesses – the news feed needs to provide users with a mixture of these. As more and more content is produced every day, Facebook has decided to improve the way the information is displayed.
There are three big changes that will transform the way people experience Facebook:
1. Users will be able to see multiple posts in a row from the same source. Until now, Facebook’s algorithm prevented that, in order to keep the news feed as clear as possible. With this new change, users who don’t have too much content in their feeds will be able to see more and spend more time on the platform.
2. The content posted by close friends will be prioritised. The research undertaken by Facebook showed that people are worried about missing important updates from the people they care about, with all the content generated each day. With the new algorithm, the posts containing videos, photos and status updates from close connections will come higher up in the list. Users will still be able to see the posts from organisations and publishers, but on a lower level.
3. Users won’t be troubled with their friends’ activity on other pages or profiles any more. Facebook also learned through study that it is very annoying for many to see on their news feed what their connections liked and commented on different pages. Therefore, this kind of posts will appear lower down or not at all in users’ news feeds.
With all this in mind, many companies are worried that post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline. However, the first algorithm can actually be a positive change for page owners, as users will be able to read more than one piece of information in a row and become more reactive to their activity.
On the other hand, the second and the third modification are not as friendly. Because people will be able to see at a glance what their friends are doing, they will focus less on what different businesses have to say. They may not even scroll that much down to see the content from the pages they are following. Even more, the effect of the third algorithm will be to limit or remove all second-hand users’ interactions with some pages’ content, decreasing their reach and virality.
But then again, these algorithms may not have such a negative impact on Facebook publishers. A Facebook spokesperson explained that what users see on their news feed depends on a multitude of factors, such as the people they interact with, the pages they follow and the businesses they are interested in. They may be more concerned with what page publishers have to say than with their friends stories, so what you publish could still appear higher up. Even more, if your content will continue to be relevant and interesting, people will keep on sharing the stories, thus the content will appear as a priority in their friends’ news feed as well.
The new changes will be implemented in the next several weeks.