Facebook tweaks News Feed to prioritize friends over news sites

By , Jun 30, 2016

Marck Zuckerberg (F8 2014 keynote, image 002)

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Management, announced yesterday an upcoming change to the News Feed ranking algorithm on the service.

Soon, your News Feed will prioritize content from friends over news stories from publishers to address missing important updates from friends because content from professional publishers would get preferential treatment.

Charlie Warzel, writing for BuzzFeed, says that the latest move could indicate that Facebook is worried about professional publishers crowding out the normal people you care about.

Facebook notes that the latest tweak to the News Feed algorithm shouldn’t be confused with an earlier update that tried to ensure that stories posted directly by the friends you care about are higher up in News Feed so that you’re less likely to miss them.

If it’s from your friends, it should be in your News Feed. And with yesterday’s announcement, now it is because posts from your friends will be soon surfaced toward the top of your News Feed. The refreshed algorithm has some smarts, too.

If you tend to like photos from your girlfriend who you’re friends with on Facebook, for example, the updated algorithm will start putting her posts closer to the top of your News Feed.

The social networking firm anticipates that the update might cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. There has been some contention that Facebook basically has the power to decide what people read every day in their News Feed.

Unsurprisingly, the company disagrees.

“We don’t favor specific kinds of sources—or ideas,” reads the post.

“We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about,” said the company. “We are in the business of connecting people and ideas—and matching people with the stories they find most meaningful.”

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber opines that news organizations are now going to have to pay more for worse placement in users’ News Feeds as Facebook will now prioritize content from friends.

“You can call this unsettling if you want,” he added. “I’d call it unsurprising.”

And when it comes to the endless News Feed algorithm iterations, Facebook views its work as “only one percent finished” so expect them to continue soliciting feedback regarding what has  become arguably the most controversial feature of Facebook.

Source: Facebook

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