Facebook algorithm update: do we see what we really like?

Facebook has announced during the week an update to their algorithm that defines what is shown on our News Feed. According to their press release, their new focus is on high-quality content, leaving behind photo memes, and call to action posts.

Many of us were confused with these recent changes, since it’s not clear yet why Facebook decided to focus on the quality of the news sources. However, since we’re playing with their rules, we should become familiar with the update, in order to maintain a good Facebook presence.

Thus, as of now, Facebook will ‘promote’ articles from reputable sources on the News Feed, while it will slightly ‘ignore’ photo memes and low quality content.

And here comes the question: “How do you define quality?”

For the time being, Facebook mostly cares about the source of the article, which means that a breaking story will most likely appear on your newsfeed by a big website. Before you start to worry about your site, Facebook reassures us that the change doesn’t mean that it will ‘vanish’ all the small sites, since the percentage of the change will be about 10% more for the bigger sources, with 10% less for the smaller ones.

As for memes and ‘low-quality’ content, they will still be around, but only if Facebook considers they are worth your attention. What’s more, call to action posts (eg. ‘Like to see our new picture’) won’t be as effective from now on, since Facebook has decided that this tactic should be abandoned. Not everyone likes this type of posts, but even if you tried it in the past, you’d better avoid it from now on.

According to Facebook’s News Feed Manager Lars Backstrom, in a recent interview to AllThingsD, Facebook doesn’t try to impose us a specific type of content over another, they are just looking for an increased value.

Lars Backstrom seemed to talk a lot about ‘user value’ on his interview to AllThingsD, with their focus being on personalisation and giving people what they really want to see.

In his own words: 

“There are certainly people that come to Facebook looking to see funny cat photos. And we want to make sure that it’s a good experience for them as well as people who are looking for more serious news.

I must admit that I’m still not sure of what content will be presented from now on on my News Feed. On one hand, Facebook focuses on user value and promotes high quality content, but on the other, why does every link have to be measured for its so-called quality? How do we know the way that quality is measured?

We don’t like only a specific type of content and of course the time that we log on Facebook affects the content that we’ll like. Thus, sometimes a Grumpy Cat photo meme might be preferred over the World News story, which doesn’t mean that we always pick the one from the other, and vice versa.

Hopefully things will be cleared out and our personalised News Feed will remain this way!