Facebook putting the news back in News Feed

shutterstock_141377746

Facebook introduced another change to its News Feed algorithm recently, as the site plans to place more relevant news stories into the feed. Facebook claims that readers want to see stories about relevant current events, so that’s what the social network will do. Referral traffic from Facebook to media sites has increased 170 percent over the last year, showing that Facebook users do still desire to get news in the News Feed.

Users are used to seeing prompts — when they click on a news story within Facebook — to read more stories from that outlet or similar publishers. This will go a step beyond that, by bringing higher quality news reports to the News Feed and showing where their Facebook friends are commenting on news sites throughout the web.

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Varun Kacholia, Engineering Manager, and Minwen Ji, Software Engineer, commented on these changes in a blog post:

People use Facebook to share and connect, including staying current on the latest news, whether it’s about their favorite celebrity or what’s happening in the world. 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, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile. What this means is that you may start to notice links to articles a little more often (particularly on mobile).

Why are we doing this? 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.

Readers: Do you feel that there’s not enough real news in the News Feed?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock. News Feed image courtesy of Facebook.

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