Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm: What This Means For Publishers And Ordinary Users
Facebook has introduced a new way to determine whether a post on a user's news feed is actually spam or fake news. It's also changing its news feed algorithm to improve the removal process of such content.
What Facebook's New News Feed Algorithm Means For You
Facebook considers anyone posting 50 or more status updates a day as most likely sharing spam or fake news content. Of course the social network can't just go around on a suspending spree, cracking down any account that posts that many updates a day, but it can do something else: cut down on their distribution in the network.
That essentially means accounts that spam the news feed will get a much lesser reach than they did previously. Put simply, spammers' posts will migrate to the bottom of the news feed barrel, with fewer people likely ever to see them. Spamming the news feed, sorry, your posts have less visibility and reach.
Facebook's research shows that the links spammers share "tend to include low quality content such as clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation." By deprioritizing them, Facebook could improve the flurry of content its regular, non-spammer user see on the social network.
Will This Affect Facebook Pages, Too?
The move shouldn't concern Pages who like to post a lot, since the algorithm shift will only affect individual users. That said, Facebook says Pages that rely on spammers for traffic will also see a drop in the distribution of specific spam or clickbait-heavy links.
"We're trying to do as much as we can to get false news, clickbait and sensationalism off our platform," says Adam Mosseri, Facebook's News Feed VP.
In theory, Facebook could simply get rid of those accounts entirely to stop the flurry of spam. But in practice, the company wouldn't want to impede on their users' right to share. So it's taking on a more logical, and less severe way of handling matters.
"They're spamming but not necessarily violating any specific policies that we have so we think this is the right type of approach."
Links Only, For Now
All told, however, the new algorithm change-up will only affect links, and not "domains, Pages, videos, photos, check-ins or status updates." Often on Facebook, people also use photos or videos as channels to share their spam or fake news content. Facebook hasn't said any plans to combat such posts, but doing something about links seems to be a good start.
The algorithm update comes as one of Facebook's many steps to cut down on fake news in the news feed. Fighting the spread of such news has been one of the company's top priorities since the U.S. election, and many believe the spate of false information on the network affected the outcome.
Facebook has since implemented other changes to improve the content appearing on people's news feeds, such as introducing ways to combat terrorism on its network, hiring a lot more moderators, and improved its detection of fake accounts.
With 2 billion users now on the Facebook bandwagon, it'll surely be harder for Mark Zuckerberg to "bring the world closer together." But steps like this help pave the path forward. Time, however, will tell.
Thoughts about Facebook's algorithm changes? Do you think it should have taken a different approach? What do you suggest? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!