Facebook is updating its News Feed algorithm yet again, and users could be seeing posts from friends and family more frequently than they would from publishers, commercial brands and institutions.A quick browse through the News Feed could already be dizzying to the average user, given the amount of information being shared across the social web, so the update could be the company's method of filtering out the noise.
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By default, users have been seeing "Top Stories" that are generating the most traction from their own network.
If, for instance, three of your friends posted the same link to their individual networks, then FB assumes this to be important to you too and pushes the content higher up, possibly even at the top of the heap.
This is only logical: users will see not only what their own friends are liking or reacting to, but also what they themselves might take interest in and generate their own conversation on.
Hence, posts are "ranked." "If the ranking is off," Facebook says, "people don't engage, and leave dissatisfied.
So one of our most important jobs is getting this ranking right." Why This Is Bad News For Media Publishers Shaking up the ranking system — by showing fewer posts from FB Pages — could, however, put certain publishers at a disadvantage.
The algorithm update could cause a sharp drop in the social traffic being referred by Facebook to other websites if posts from third-party brands were to appear less frequently in the feed.This might come as a shock to content publishers that have been relying on the channel as their top traffic referrer. "Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages," says Lars Backstrom, Facebook's engineering director.Content directly posted by FB Pages might not easily figure in the stream — unless individuals themselves find the post relevant and interesting enough that they end up sharing the story with their own network.A spike in traffic generated by useful and significant to their public.But not so much for the clickbait content strategists."If a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it," Backstrom adds, "there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts." Paying For Wider Reach On Facebook The challenge then is to produce better material for social media consumption.