Facebook is prioritising “authentic” content in News Feed with a ranking algorithm change that detects and promotes content “that people consider genuine, and not misleading, sensational, or spammy.” It’s also giving a boost to stories that are going viral in real-time right now that could help it compete with Twitter for in-the-moment news sharing.
New Signals to Identify Authentic Content
One of the Facebook News Feed values is authentic communication. Facebook state that authentic stories are the ones that resonate most with people — those that people consider genuine and not misleading, sensational or spammy.
When ranking News Feed they look at many signals personal to each user, such as how close you are to the person or Page posting, as well as more universal signals like the overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) that a post has.
With this update, Facebook are adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, they categorised Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares. They then used posts from these Pages to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.
If a post is likely to be authentic based on the new signals they look at, it might show up higher in your feed.
Updates to Real-Time Signals
When ranking feed to determine the relevance of a post, Facebook always look at real-time signals, such as whether a friend has just commented on it. They continue to improve News Feed to evaluate the importance of different signals at different times.
With today’s update, Facebook will now take into account how signals change in real time. So now if there is a lot of engagement from many people on Facebook about a topic, or if a post from a Page is getting a lot of engagement, they can understand in real-time that the topic or Page post might be temporarily more important to you, so they should show that content higher in your feed.
For example, if your favourite football team just won a game, Facebook might show you posts about the game higher up in News Feed because people are talking about it more broadly on Facebook.
Will This Impact My Page?
Facebook anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic or outbound clicks, and some Pages might see minor decreases. Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences.