Facebook tweaks News Feed to give higher priority to your friends’ status updates

Paper will have humans tell you which story you should read (Image credit: Reuters)
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By Nishtha Kanal /  22 Jan 2014 , 11:51

Facebook has tweaked it News Feed algorithm yet again. This time, the social networking website has decided you will see more text-based status updates from friends, as compared to ones put up by Facebook pages you might follow.

In a blog post on the website’s Newsroom section, Chris Turitzin, Product Manager of News Feed Ranking wrote that throughout Facebook’s tests about the News Feed, it was noted that when people see more text status updates from their friends, there’s a big spike in their interaction. In its tests, Facebook saw 9 million more status messages written each day, on an average, when other status messages were given a higher priority on the News Feed

Essentially, seeing your friends write text-based status messages spurs dialogue and encourages you to write more messages as well. However, when pages put up text messages, they do not have the same effect on users as updates put up by friends. Therefore, Facebook has decided to rank page text posts lower.

There’s another way to look at the new ranking system, though. Facebook is basically now asking page owners, in no uncertain terms, to get their creative juices flowing and get a lot more visual. With text status updates from pages getting a rap on the knuckle, other story types from pages will get a larger share of the distribution. Turitzin wrote on the blog that Facebook gets asked by page owners about what content they should be posting to gain maximum engagement. There’s no fixed formula, he says, it depends on what your audience wants to see. However, the service encourages owners to embed links into status updates, so that the article gets previewed along with it. Facebook has seen a lot more engagement on such posts from pages.

Even while Facebook is continually working on improving the News Feed experience, currently, you need to remember that if you’re an individual, you should be posting a lot more text status updates to get noticed, and if you own a page you should be posting a lot more links and photographs.


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