New “Explore Feed” Added to Menu Navigation

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Facebook has been quietly and slowly testing a new feature known as “Explore Feed,” one that will help users discover content outside of the friends and Pages they already follow. This feature is being slowly rolled out, so it may not yet be available for all users, but it’s coming. The “Explore Feed” can be found in the menu navigation (which includes Weather, Sports, Find Wi-Fi, and more). Facebook intends to keep users on site or in the app when looking for content, instead of turning to Google or other apps. Content found in “Explore Feed” is similar to the content from your friends and followed Pages. This feature is still considered a test, but its placement in the menu suggests a broader rollout in the near future.

 

Overshared, Sketchy Links to Be Demoted

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Facebook is now after spammers, those who publish multiple posts a day, often sharing sketchy links to clickbaity-type sites. While Facebook won’t suspend an account for sharing 50+ false or clickbaity news articles in a day, it will begin demoting these posts so that this type of content becomes buried in a user’s News Feed. Facebook defines these spammy links as ones that “tend to include low quality content such as clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation.” As for Pages, only those who rely on these spammers for traffic will see a drop in visibility and engagement.

Links to Low-Quality Sites to Be Diminished in News Feed

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In a new update rolling out over the next few months, Facebook has announced that it will bury links to low-quality sites that come from posts or even Facebook ads. Facebook defines a low-quality site as one “containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.” It’s possible that high-quality sites may benefit from this update with a potential increase in referral traffic. This update stems from user complaints that content in the News Feed often points them to spammy or misleading sites.

Facebook Tests Subscribed Topics in News Feed

With this new test, some users will be able to subscribe to Topics they may be interested in. In the News Feed, users may see a carousel of topics they can subscribe to. By subscribing to a Topic, the user will be exposed to more Pages and posts than those they ordinarily follow and interact with. Facebook intends to gauge whether this update helps users engage with posts they are interested in while also being exposed to new ideas counter to their own beliefs, interests, or politics. Should the test prove to confuse or annoy users, however, it’s very possible this update never reaches all Facebook users.

News Feed to Weigh “Reactions” More Than “Likes”

It has been one year since Facebook introduced Reactions for increased user engagement, and over the past year Facebook has learned that any Reaction left on a post is a strong indicator that the user was more interested in that post than any other “liked” posts. Currently, any Reaction is weighed the same as a Like; however, Facebook is revamping the News Feed to weigh Reactions more than Likes. If a user selects a Reaction on a post, even an “Angry” Reaction, Facebook will begin showing similar stories in the News Feed. If you wish to see less posts of a certain variety, then it’s best to do nothing; don’t Like or React to that post. For marketers, you’ll want to create posts that elicit a Reaction over a Like.

Facebook Stories Now Available in Mobile App

 

In the effort to duplicate Snapchat’s success, Facebook has now brought Stories to the main Facebook app. With this latest app update, users will now see circular icons with their friends’ profile pictures at the top of the News Feed. These icons represent recent “stories” that friends have published, which may contain images, video, drawings, and special camera effects. After 24 hours, these stories will disappear and be replaced with new ones. With Facebook Stories, users can become more visual in how they choose to share their activities and personality with their friends. The inclusion of Stories essentially creates a second News Feed within the app.

Algorithm Changes August 2016: News Feed to Show Fewer Clickbait Headlines

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Facebook receives thousands of complaints everyday regarding “clickbait” links and headlines.

Previous changes in the News Feed algorithm have attempted to reduce the number of clickbait posts that appear on users’ News Feeds.

This newest update allows Facebook to recognize and classify clickbait-like headlines, much like a spam filter in email.

This system update will also help Facebook identify Pages and accounts that regularly post clickbait links and headlines, reducing their rankings in the News Feed.

Algorithm Changes August 2016: News Feed to Predict & Highlight Informative Posts

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This latest update is a small change to the algorithm after Facebook surveyed many users. Based on this survey, Facebook will now predict which posts a user may find “informative” and prioritize said posts in the user’s News Feed.

“Informative” could relate to a variety of posts based on the user’s likes and engagement with other posts, in addition to the results found in this recent survey.

For one user, this could mean more posts that are news-related or that feature recipes.

For others, it could be news about a favorite celebrity or a movie review.

Facebook does not anticipate much change in post distribution from Pages, though some could see slight increases or decreases in referral traffic.

Algorithm Changes June 2016: Algorithm Prioritizes Friends, Family, & Other Core Values

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The secret behind Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has been guessed at for years, with published algorithm updates that help support the various theories out there.

However, Facebook recently opened the curtain on the “core values” it uses when determining what shows up in a user’s feed. Facebook became known as the social platform to connect friends and family, which is why most of the News Feed is filled with posts from those users care about most.

Now, Facebook states that posts from friends and family will get top priority on users’ News Feeds.

After posts from friends and family, Facebook prioritizes posts that “inform” and posts that “entertain.”

Other core values include posts that represent all ideas and posts with “authentic communication.”

Facebook also emphasized the user’s ability to hide posts, unfollow other users and Pages, and the user’s ability to prioritize their own feed with the “See First” function.

Lastly, Facebook reiterated the goal to always improve the News Feed and user experience.

Algorithm Changes April 2016: News Feed to Highlight Links You’re Actually Interested In

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Yet another update to the News Feed that’ll change the prioritization of what you see at the top of your News Feed.

Interacting with a post (liking, commenting, or sharing) is a good indicator for what users are interested in; however, it is not the only way of gauging interest.

Users are less likely to interact with a sad news-related post or a serious current event, but that does not mean they do not want these stories in their News Feeds.

Facebook will now measure the potential interest in a post based on the following criteria: user interest in the creator, post performance among other users, past content performance of the creator, type of post the user prefers, and how recent the post is.

When you click on a post or link, Facebook will measure how much time you spend on post, even if you don’t like, comment, or share.

This will help Facebook in its algorithm when predicting and prioritizing which posts you are most interested in.