Facebook is rolling out a new algorithm for its News Feed that will allow content posted by users’ friends to take priority over Facebook pages and media organisations.
For over a year now, publishers and Facebook page owners have benefitted from a surge of traffic sent to them due to the social network’s current algorithm. However, in a blog posted yesterday (21 April) by product manager Max Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors, the company outlined the new changes being made.
“People are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about. For people with many connections this is particularly important, as there is a lot of content for them to see each day,” said Eulenstein and Scissors in the post.
“Based on this feedback and our ongoing understanding of how people use News Feed, we are making three updates.”
The first update that users can expect to see is that, unlike previously, multiple posts in a row from the same source will now be allowed. Before the changes, the algorithm prevented users from seeing multiple posts in a row, but Facebook is now “relaxing” this rule.
The second, and probably most notable, is that Facebook will now start to prioritise the content posted by users' friends. So, photos, videos, status updates or links will all be higher up in the news feed. Facebook says that the update tries to “make the balance of content the right one for each individual”.
Finally, Facebook is going to start hiding the posts that users’ friends like or comment on. The update will make these stories appear lower down in the news feed or even not at all.
The first change may be good for businesses and publishers who will now be able to have multiple articles in a row seen by users.
The second and third, on the other hand, may cause some issues. If people enjoy seeing content from their friends more, then they will see business and publishers less. And, if Facebook is going to start hiding the posts that users like or comment on then publishers may lose the reach they get at the moment.
According to Business Insider, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the updates will be rolling out over the next few weeks.
Laura Bracher, London