From a very long time, Facebook engineers have kept hidden their secret of working with News Feeds. However, in a latest blog post the company has revealed new updates to the News Feed feature, also briefly explaining the thinking behind them.
As per Facebook’s Lars Backstrom, there are on average 1,500 potential stories to see, every time someone visits News Feed. News Feed algorithm ranks the stories on the basis of their popularity, likes and association with the user. This allows Facebook to prioritize an average of 300 stories out of these 1,500 stories to show each day.
With new update, it will now make the popular older posts to reappear near the top of News Feed, thus showing people the stories they want to see, even if they missed them the first time. Also, Facebook claims that the fraction of stories read increased to 70% with this change.
Heading towards the seven-year anniversary of News Feed next month, Facebook has added another two features in news feed called Story Bump and Last Actor.
Story Bumping aims is to rank only those stories that are new to the users, thus making visible 5% more stories from friends, 8% from pages and 57 to 70% stories overall. On the other hand, Last Actor will keep track of the most recent friends or “actor”, a user is interacting with in real time. This will allow News Feed to bump that friend’s stories in rankings for the rest of the day. Apart from this, a yet to launch feature is Chronological by Actor, which gives a higher score to the most recent stories from the user’s friends.
“Play-by-play cases versus unrelated story cases have been difficult to determine algorithmically, and in the case of unrelated stories, Chronological by Actor doesn’t work for end users, which is why isn’t not ready yet for a general roll-out”, said Lars.
Its been said that the move came in after Facebook was dragged into media, for keeping opacity regarding how it manages the News Feed. However, this change does not impact how paid content appears in News Feeds. Thus leaving advertisers now in disguise how the stuff is playing there. Eventually, it seems that it is a slight hint for all Facebook users to keep their posts highly interactive and to have an active profile, in order to increase the ranks of their posts and make them more visible upfront in the News Feed.