Facebook Tweaks Your News Feed (Again) To Show Links You'll Likely Spend More Time On


Facebook has readjusted its News Feed algorithm, so that it reflects links that an individual will potentially spend longer time reading. The tweak is a part of the social networking site's efforts to keep its users engrossed in the content they will see on the site.

On April 21, in a blog post entitled "More Articles You Want to Spend Time Viewing," Facebook revealed that it's rolling out the tweak to the News Feed. The altered algorithm will basically predict the duration an individual is likely to devote to an article post clicking on it. This duration will be taken into account for the rankings.

"We are adding another factor to News Feed ranking so that we will now predict how long you spend looking at an article in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article after you have clicked through from News Feed. This update to ranking will take into account how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it," notes the company.

A few days ago, Tech Times reported that the folks at Facebook were testing out a novel update for the News Feed, which would enable the news hub to be categorized into different heads.

The social networking site's move is a part of its long-term vision to give preference to "quality content" more than seemingly appealing headlines. The update to the News Feed could potentially alter the manner in which users interact with the site.

The overhauled algorithm is essentially divided into several sections that imbibe World & U.S. News, Food, News Feed and Sports. Basically, the main app has been converted into a news reader and the sections put the Facebook feed at par with Twitter, Google News or Apple News.

Interestingly, since Facebook asserts it will be measuring the time a user spends "within a threshold" so as to avoid accidentally treating articles that are longer in length favorably. The idea is not to make a person's News Feed replete with stories that consume half an hour of reading time, but to give preference to news items an average reader can glance over for a couple of minutes before closing it.

Another change Facebook is targeting is diversity amid the publishers shown to users on their News Feed. The company realizes that users get exasperated upon spotting numerous posts continuously that are from the same publisher. Therefore, to counter this issue of repetitions, Facebook will attempt to distribute posts from publishers of different pages that the user has liked.

The update is already rolling out and will continue for the next couple of weeks. Most Pages will not be impacted significantly by the tweak, asserts Facebook. However, some Pages may see a dip or rise in traffic.

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