A new tweak to the Facebook News Feed may rank the content users spend a longer time reading higher than the content that receives lots of likes and clicks. When users spend “significantly more time on a particular story in the news feed than the majority of other stories they look at” and promote it up on the news feed, according to the official Facebook blog post.
Historically, Facebook’s news feed algorithm has relied on likes, comments, and share to determine what to show higher in a user’s news feed. However, new research Facebook conducted found that there are meaningful stories out there that users do take the time to read, but didn’t necessarily feel they needed to comment or like the post, such as information on an alert or a serious event.
Now Facebook is introducing a new ranking signal that will consider the time a user spends on a story found the news feed. Facebook engineers stressed that the new change will go be beyond simply measuring the number of seconds a user spends on a single story. That’s because 10 seconds for one person could mean they really liked the story, while 10 seconds for another person could be due to a slow Internet connection, for example. Instead, if Facebook discovers that a user is spending significantly more time on a particular story than a majority of other stories they click on, “this is a good sign that the content was relevant to them.”
In other words, for baby pictures and memes that users pass by naturally in the news feed, Facebook will take a hint to not show it again without requiring the user to adjust their settings.
Hold Your Panic, Social Media Managers
Facebook mentioned that they “do not expect Pages to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update” and it would be a couple of weeks before we started to see any changes. That said, it’s important for businesses and organizations to take note of Facebook’s news feed, which has become highly sophisticated in just the just the last few years. Whether or not the update will make a significant change on the user experience, only time will tell.