Facebook today announced tweaks to its News Feed algorithm that focus on articles. In particular, the company is looking to surface more articles that get clicks on mobile devices as well as resurface articles that have received comments from your friends.
For the former, the company has made two rather inane statements: “We’ve noticed that people enjoy seeing articles on Facebook” and “so we’re now paying closer attention to what makes for high quality content.” PR talk aside, Facebook says it is now taking into consideration how often articles are clicked on the mobile News Feed.
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This means that if your friends post, Like, and click articles on their mobile devices, you should start to notice more links to articles in your own News Feed. This will apply to both the desktop News Feed and the mobile News Feed, although Facebook says you should see a bigger increase in articles showing up on your smartphones and tablets.
As you can see above, after you click on an article, you may soon see up to three related articles directly below the News Feed post. This will “help you discover more content you may find interesting,” Facebook says.
Here’s the company’s reasoning for these changes:
Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.
Last but not least, Facebook is also tweaking how it bumps articles in the News Feed. The algorithm will “occasionally” resurface articles that have new comments from friends.
As Facebook notes, “after people read a story, they are unlikely to go back and find that story again to see what their friends were saying about it.” In other words, you can expect previous stories to return to your News Feed, with new comments highlighted.
Thankfully, Facebook insists it will do this “in moderation for just a small number of stories.” The company’s tests have shown that doing so “can lead to more conversations between people and their friends on all types of content.” That sounds great, as long as the comments that follow aren’t along the lines of “why does this keep showing up on my News Feed?”
Top Image Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/GettyImages