Have you ever wondered why you see posts on Facebook in the order they are? The answer is News Feed, a dedicated algorithm that puts you at the top of the page. Today we look at how it works and how you can influence what you see.
“Stolen time is not a goal. We want the time spent on Facebook to motivate people to meaningful social interactions, “said Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the largest social network last November.
He does not like scroll-zombies, that is, users with a dead face that endlessly go down the main page without ever reacting to the contributions. According to Facebook psychologists quoted, you are mentally worse than when you actively respond and comment.
In order for Facebook to show you the right direction for active networking, he has changed since April an algorithm to tailor the content of the main page. Now, let’s look at how the software works, what’s new, and how you can influence your impressions.
Whenever you sign in to Facebook, you’ll see posts on the main page in a specific order. The algorithm called News Feed is the one who determines their succession. Its purpose is to predict which posts you will most likely be responding to, or to look closely at them, and to rank the highest.
It is tailored for each user, for each individual contribution. It works nonstop and whenever someone adds something during your presence or absence, News Feed will judge how relevant it is to you. At the discretion, the main page will include that post.
The algorithm is constantly evolving and updating, but its basic functionality remains the same. Before they generate the final sequence of posts, they go through all three steps.
In the first step, News Feed will look for all the posts that it will consider for you. Especially from your friends, the groups you are in, and the sites you are watching. In addition, it counts with posts from people you do not follow but your friends are responding to.
Includes posts you’ve already seen. You will see the same post for the second time, especially if your friends responded to it during your absence. Last but not least, the content includes an ad, which, however, evaluates and ranks other, specialized software.
The second level is considerably more complex. The algorithm is not a person who could guess the success of the post by intuition, the prediction needs accurate data. It derives from the so-called signals – the attributes of the contribution, which express the numerical value.
Time: Many factors play a role in this plane. One of the key is the time of publication. Simply – the more up-to-date post, the higher you can see. However, the feed is far from chronological. It is therefore possible that if you do not sign up for a week, the first post will be five days old. Especially when it comes to your nurse’s wedding photo, which News Feed evaluates as very relevant on the basis of other signals.
Time plays a role in feedback for the algorithm. It continually measures and captures how long you look at scrolling posts. “If you do not usually spend too much time tracking your posts, and one of them stops, it’s a signal that’s more relevant to you,” Jan Ściegienny from Facebook said for Technet.cz.
Interaction: In this signal, the algorithm measures the number of responses, comments, and sharing. The bonus for the post or its author is if its link users are sent via Messenger. It also depends on sharing whether you are sharing a shared link or clicking on the original post.
The algorithm looks for trends as you behave. So if you like to comment on posts in one group, or to tag some of your photos, posts from these people will be high.
- Author: The more you contact with the author, the more your Feed Feed will notice. Any interactions on Facebook are considered – mutual commenting or posting posts, tagging, or activity on Messenger. The role plays whether it is a family member or how long you are friends.
- Category: Each post falls under a certain type: text, photo, video, link. If you like to comment on videos, you’ll see more. Categories also have a secondary role. Facebook strives to balance and you should not see three videos in a row, but they will be interlaced with a post or photo.
- Information: The fairly vague category is the informative nature of the contribution, how it can enrich you. Facebook also finds user feedback from authorized third parties. In their own words, they try to overlook the users who, without thinking, are spreading a great deal of inappropriate or untrue references.
- Secondary: Algorithm counts hundreds of different data. There is a plethora of marginal data available: how the profile is filled in on which phone you are on or how fast you are connected. Even these factors can then affect the resulting order on the main page.
Now the algorithm has a lot of information to evaluate. All categories have a different weight, but what kind, Facebook guards. After multiplying by certain coefficients by which the software corrects, it pips the values into one: the resulting significance score.
The higher the score, the more likely it is that you response to interesting content, and the higher you see on your main page. For each post you see, you can imagine a virtual number that explains its position.
What has changed?
The quote from the introduction suggests what is new this year and which of the signals gained more weight: the author. To make your Facebook more active, the algorithm prioritises people close to you. So although a post is interesting, a lot of users are responding to it and it’s an hour old, you’ll see firstly a post from someone in your family. Or a friend with whom you keep in touch.
“When evaluating the relevance of posts, we look at a series of signals. From the author’s preference, we’re more watching how often you comment or respond to your friends. They will then appear on the main page above, and conversations from people you do not have among friends are trying to make up, “explains Ściegienny.
In addition, the network has set three priorities for this year:
- Trusted sources. More posts from people or groups that the community considers trusted.
- Informative content. Multiple posts that users have marked as informative.
- Local content. More posts from your neighborhood that may concern you.
Facebook, on the other hand, has begun to post some posts that have great hopes of user success but go against the established principles. It takes a long time to score posts that spread information from untrustworthy sources or generate hatred. In this respect, the network relies on its own employees as well as user feedback.
It also updates the posts that include clickbaids, spam (mark a friend who ate it), or so-called solicitors – about reactions, comments, or polls. Therefore, you should see less of such contributions.
The algorithm is being updated on a regular basis, and substantial changes to Facebook are published on your blog.
How to make the algorithm mature?
The algorithm does not let Facebook talk, but you can influence your form of the main page. You can intentionally influence which posts you will be viewing with some features and behavior.
In the top panel, click the arrow to expand the menu and select Preferences for selected posts. Here you can choose the people or sites you would like to see first. This can be done individually on their profiles (beware, do not mess with add-ons among your close friends after you get a warning from this person).
Likewise, you can stop watching those you love friends or support them with, but for some reason you do not want to see their posts. The window also offers the opportunity to discover new interesting friends. You can select up to thirty people or sites to display first. However, these are not chronologically added, but again based on the algorithm’s decision.
You have several options for each post. When you hide it, the News Feed will learn to start updating the author. You can even “postpone” the post author, ie temporarily hide all his posts or stop watching it. If your post violates community policies, you can report it.
You can set the chronological order in the left panel of the main page. Posts will only be sorted according to the time criterion, but News Feed will still work in the background if you change your mind.
Role plays everything
You can influence the algorithm by your own behavior. Faster by scrolling through the post, you will say that you are not interested in it. By responding more frequently to photos of a particular site, you can tell Facebook that you like them. If you sit with an older device on a slow wi-fi, you will see fewer videos.
By changing behavior you can, but you do not have to influence the resulting form. Because Facebook openly admits that the algorithm still has flies. For example, if you start drinking while browsing, Facebook will understand that you are interested in the post, and its author will start to move up.
“News Feed is constantly evolving based on your behavior. However, we do not always make a judgment, so we give users the ability to influence the content through the tools, “concludes Ściegienny.