Have you ever wondered how stories end up in your newsfeed on Facebook? I am sure you will all have noticed that not everything that everybody you are a friend of posts on the world’s largest social network ends up in your newsfeed. At a special event held earlier today the social media giant shed some light on the process that determines what goes into your newsfeed and what does not.
Facebook say that they intend to provide you with the stories that you will find the most interesting. The way that they do this is to assign each new story a score and the higher the post scores the higher up your newsfeed it will appear. The score for a post is affected by the following:
- Number of likes for the post
- Number of shares for the post
- Number of comments for the post
- Your last 50 interactions on Facebook
This last factor is very interesting, the more that you interact with a person or page on Facebook the more Facebook will then filter that person or pages content into your newsfeed. I like this idea because it means that you are getting the content from the people that you care about most at this moment.
If you have been on Facebook for the last five years (very likely to be the case) but you moved house six months ago to a different town then you will probably have had more interactions over the full five years with your friends from your old address than those at your new address. However, after living at your new place for six months you will have built up a new social network at the new location and are probably interacting more with them on a daily basis than your friends from the old locale. You are probably going to be most interested in your new friends updates and so by looking at your 50 most recent interactions Facebook is able to build up a picture of who is most important to you. I am intrigued by this figure of just 50 most recent interactions to determine who and what is important to you.
Facebook have said that on average there are potentially around 1500 possible stories that could go into your newsfeed each day and 20% end up in your newsfeed, so that is about 300 stories per day. If you think that the average number of friends the average person has on Facebook is about 100 then that is about 15 status updates per person per day. Of course most people like a number of pages and so the real figure is probably closer to 10-13 posts per person (For this segment of this article a post can be a status update, like, share or comment). This means that your newsfeed is being based around between 3- 5 days of activity on Facebook. This does not seem very much to me and I would have expected it to be closer to a month’s worth of data.
Going back to what now appears in your newsfeed it is interesting to note that stories can get bumped up your newsfeed. If a story has scored highly but you may have missed it, say the post was made at lunchtime and by the time you logged on when you have eaten dinner in the evening the story could be buried under a lot of other stuff that has been posted that day, you may well find that the story is now much higher in your newsfeed than it previously was. I do wonder how often a post gets its score updated as this is likely to change over time as more people like and share a popular post.
Facebook has also admitted that this new algorithm is currently only being implemented on Facebook on the desktop but that it will be being rolled out onto mobile eventually. Facebook has also confirmed that adverts on Facebook are not affected by this algorithm.
I wonder if the algorithm takes into account the type of interaction that two users have. If user A always posts material and user B likes and comments on A’s material would a post by B appear in A’s newsfeed? Technically B is not interesting A as much as A is interesting B so it would seem correct that while B sees all of A’s posts A should not see all of B’s.
I would be interested to know what your views are on this change to the way content is selected for your newsfeed.